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Kern Medical labor contract faces union vote this week


Kern Medical

A union vote starting Tuesday could decide whether nurses and other health care workers at Kern Medical walk out on strike two weeks later because of what organizers say are low wages and unfair labor practices but which the hospital says is an effort to rewrite a grievance and disciplinary process.

The hospital on Wednesday presented what it called its last, best offer to more than 1,600 employees represented in 14-month-old contract negotiations by Service Employees International Union Local 521. That same day, the medical center's operator, the Kern County Hospital Authority, approved a one-year contract worth up to $15 million to hire replacement workers, if necessary, to cover shifts during a strike.