Tri-City briefs | Union City gas stations can now sell alcohol, Union City gets $626,000 to provide services to homeless, union pushes for fair contract at Washington Hospital

green heineken bottle in refrigerator

Union City gas stations can now sell beer, wine

UNION CITY, Calif. — The state no longer allows cities to ban the sale of beer and wine at gas stations, so now Union City is lifting its ban and regulating their sale.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, the Union City City Council unanimously approved changes to its zoning code to allow gas stations to begin selling most types of alcohol for off-site consumption.

Gas stations will still need to get a license from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and adhere to city regulations, like ensuring beer and wine are not within 5 feet of the cash register or advertised at motor fuel islands.

Union City gets $626,000 to provide services to homeless

UNION CITY, Calif. — Union City has secured a two-year grant totaling just over $626,000 aimed at bolstering its safe parking program and other initiatives providing immediate assistance to the city’s homeless population.

The city is receiving the $626,469 homeless housing, assistance and prevention program grant from the state’s Homeless Coordinating and Finance Council in two tranches — $395,940 for the 2023-2024 fiscal year and $230,529 for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. Those funds will go toward staffing the city’s CAREavan program, as well as providing services like assistance with car repair and registration ($60,000), addiction counseling services ($30,000), and a voucher program through social services organization Centro de Servicios ($25,000).

The city spent the $122,203 grant it got last year on veterinary services for the pets of the unhoused, hiring staff for the CAREavan program and adding a second day of services through the Clean Start mobile shower and laundry unit shared with Fremont.

The city saw a substantial increase in people experiencing homelessness between 2019, when the city counted 106, and 2022, when the city counted 489. The vast majority of the people counted were sleeping in a car (337) or recreational vehicle (86).

Union pushes for a fair contract at Washington Hospital

FREMONT, Calif. — Members of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West are continuing to ask the board of the Washington Hospital Healthcare System to approve a fair labor contract.

Emmanuel Rivera, who has been working with the health care system for almost 30 years, was among the union members who addressed the Washington Township Health Care District Board of Directors earlier this month. After six months of negotiating and significant concessions, Rivera said they had not reached “an agreement that ensures a living wage and (the) nominal health care coverage” that members deserve.

“We hope that Washington Hospital will reconsider their offer and stand with us as we work toward a resolution that benefits not only our employees,” Rivera said, “but the wellbeing of our entire community.”

The labor movement has experienced a resurgence since the cost of living has spiraled out of control and wages have continued to stagnate. SEIU-UHW has been among the unions leading the charge.

Construction projects progress smoothly at Washington Hospital

FREMONT, Calif. — Washington Hospital is continuing to undergo a makeover as more construction projects reach completion.

Edward Fayen, the health care system’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, told the Washington Township Health Care District Board of Directors at its meeting on Oct. 11 that crews are on time and on budget with the hospital’s construction projects. Those projects include an expansion of the health care system’s Institution of Joint Restoration and Research clinic and a pedestrian bridge between two sections of the hospital.

Washington Hospital was built in 1958, before the law started requiring new buildings to be earthquake-safe and was intended to serve a much smaller population. In the early 2000s, the hospital began making plans to expand and modernize its facilities, including by building several new facilities like the Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion.

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