Bargaining Update - CHEU Negotiations


Palomar Health met with the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU) on November 17 for continued contract discussions.  Palomar Health made further significant efforts to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion.  Here are just a few highlights of our improved contract proposal:
  • Health Insurance:  No increases to employee copays or coinsurance amounts, despite Palomar Health receiving a 7.4% premium increase from Sharp Health Plan. 
  • CompensationAdditional .25% increases in 2019 and 2020.  Total pay increases of more than 4.40% every year (2.25% per year, plus step increases valued at over 2.15% on average). These are the same increases we offered CNA at our November 15 meeting. We are committed to treating all our employees equally. In addition, Caregivers who work shifts designated as “critical needs” shifts would be able to earn 25% more per hour, on average.
  • Staffing:  Mediation if the parties cannot resolve staffing-related concerns. 
Palomar Health has now offered several million dollars in additional wages, salaries and benefits above and beyond what had been budgeted.  On November 17, CHEU held a demonstration outside, did not come to the bargaining table until 2:00 pm, and then did not respond to our proposals at the table.  However, CHEU’s last demands exceeded what is sustainable by tens of millions of dollars.  Given that we are already millions of dollars over budget, these expectations are not at all realistic or sustainable. 

As a reminder, we have told CHEU for the past several months that pay increases will not be retroactive.  We previously offered to make pay increases retroactive if the Union would extend the contract past June.  Regrettably, CHEU opted instead to let the agreement expire without any willingness to grant extensions.  We hope a new contract can be finalized as soon as possible.  We want to provide our dedicated Caregivers with immediate pay increases and other improvements, but we cannot do this without the Union’s agreement. 

As always, Palomar Health remains committed to bargaining in good faith until the parties reach a new contract. Rest assured that we are working as efficiently as possible to reach a fair deal for Palomar Health and our employees.  As we approach the upcoming holidays and end of the calendar year, we hope CHEU is equally serious about reaching a fair and prompt resolution.  We will continue to keep you updated regarding the status of negotiations. 

We hope that everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.  We are grateful for everything you do to heal, comfort and promote health in the communities we serve.  

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