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Palomar Health says it has reached impasse with unions

Posted at 6:03 AM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 09:03:20-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Palomar Health says it has reached an impasse in ongoing negotiations with its two unions, accusing them of not negotiating in good faith.

The health care provider has been in contract negotiations with local chapters of the California Nurses Association and Caregivers and Health Employees Union for over a year.

On Monday, Palomar Health officials said the unions recently rejected their last, best, and final offer and canceled the upcoming bargaining dates that were left.

In a pre-recorded video, the president and CEO of Palomar Health called the unions’ requests "unrealistic demands."

However, union representatives say they are still willing to negotiate. They’re asking for a number of things, including safe patient staffing, retention and recruitment, safe equipment, and better pay and benefits.

Joanne Meza is a registered nurse at Palomar and a member of the California Nurses Association. She's been at the bargaining table and says talks have been hostile and disheartening.

“It seems like they just want us to have the approach of take it or leave it and it seems like it's a bully tactic towards the union and I believe there's a lot of union-busting going on,” says Meza.

Palomar Health calls the unions' requests dangerous and says the demands would put "significant constraints on their ability to provide high-quality care."

Now, the board of directors has unanimously voted on salary increases starting this month, of about 4% over the next three years. The unions say the increases are not enough and it's not something they've agreed to. They are hopeful Palomar will return to the bargaining table.

The union says it has reached out to a neutral mediator to hopefully reach an agreement for all parties. You can read the unions' full statement here.