Doctors at Oakland’s Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus have reached a tentative contract agreement with management, averting a potential strike, union officials announced.

More than 100 resident physicians represented by the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) informed Alameda Health System (AHS) executives Monday of their intention to strike if the two sides failed to reach a deal, according to union officials.

On Friday, the union announced an “excellent tentative deal with AHS” after what the doctors said was “eight frustrating months of the system bargaining in bad faith.”

The new contract includes language allowing the physicians to honor coworkers’ picket lines, raises of more than 20 percent over three years, eight weeks of paid paternal leave, fair pay for being called in to work unexpectedly, an annual $30,000 increase to a diversity fund, mental health benefits and “an enforceable commitment to negotiate family building and fertility benefits later this year,” according to the union, a local of the Service Employees International Union.

“We desperately need living wages to keep up with the cost of living in the Bay, but this was always about much more than salary.”

Dr. DaShawn Hickman

“We desperately need living wages to keep up with the cost of living in the Bay, but this was always about much more than salary,” Dr. DaShawn Hickman said in a news release Friday.

Union officials said they filed several unfair labor practice complaints during the contract talks, including for when “the administration delayed bargaining for weeks, suddenly claiming they lacked the authority to bargain.”

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley said Friday he was proud of what the doctors had accomplished.

“Highland Hospital is a lifeline to people who cannot get care elsewhere and it’s so important that the workers at the center of that care are supported,” Miley said.

Hospital officials said Friday they are happy to have reached a new contract agreement that will help attract and retain resident physicians but disputed the idea that AHS was negotiating in bad faith.

“From day one, we engaged in good faith negotiations with the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU), as we do with every one of our unions to achieve competitive, equitable, and fiscally sustainable compensation and benefits packages,” hospital officials said. “Statements that suggest otherwise are unsubstantiated and counterproductive to sustaining an environment of trust and shared values.”

Kiley Russell, Bay City News

Kiley Russell writes primarily for Local News Matters on issues related to equity and the environment. A Bay Area native, he has lived most of his life in Oakland. He studied journalism at San Francisco State University, worked for the Associated Press and the former Contra Costa Times, among other outlets. He has covered everything from state legislatures, local governments, federal and state courts, crime, growth and development, political campaigns of various stripes, wildfires and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.