Local 315 Adds 250 New Members to Union

A large group of hospital workers have formed a new bargaining unit with AFSCME Local 315, expanding our membership further in the Eastern Sierra.

About 250 patient care, technical, service and business office employees at Northern Inyo Hospital District recently decided to join our union to have a stronger voice at the bargaining table and stand up for better patient care at the hospital district’s medical facilities.

“We are hoping that this is the beginning of a quick and easy transition to fairness, respect, equality and openness for all NIHD employees,” said Teri Boling, a lab assistant at the district’s clinical lab in Bishop.

Several years ago, the nurses at the hospital district organized and joined AFSCME in response
to a set of harsh policies that lacked fairness and transparency and didn’t support the recruitment and retention of skilled caregivers—a promise the hospital district’s management made when it built its new state-of-the art facility.

If those policies would have been allowed to stand, they would have had a negative impact on patient care and the hospital district’s ability to recruit more skilled medical staff.

Our sisters and brothers in patient care, technical, service and business office jobs have followed suit because they too believe the hospital district deserves strong patient care and highly skilled workers who care about the community they serve.

“Most of us are longtime NIHD employees or have deep roots in this community,” said Samantha Bumgarner, an emergency room technician. “We stand together with our fellow employees, and we want what is truly right not only for our coworkers but, ultimately, for our patients and our community as a whole.”

After months of dealing with management’s attempts to try to block the workers’ ability to join our union, our sisters and brothers persevered and got the California State Mediation and Conciliation Service to officially certify the members as a new bargaining unit of Local 315. Together with the nurses, they have now helped the majority of workers at the Northern Inyo Hospital District become unionized.

Boling said the next step for the new bargaining unit is to begin negotiations on their contract with the hospital district.

“Our hope is that we can begin bargaining with administration respectfully and without delay,” she said.