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Hospital Workers Walk Picket Lines

Shouting “We want a contract!” and blowing horns and whistles, hundreds of San Joaquin County union members picketed outside the San Joaquin General Hospital in Stockton today. They protested what they call an unnecessary increase in health-care costs.

One member of the Service Employees International Union Local 790, Mary Ferguson, stood next to her 11-year-old son carrying a sign reading, “Our lives are at risk.” Ferguson said she is the sole health-care provider for her husband and two children and is already paying nearly $200 a month.

Union members have been negotiating with the county the past six months to renew a contract that expired June 30. The union says it won´t sign a contract that contains large deductibles and co payments for doctor´s visits and prescriptions.