Petaluma Valley Hospital workers demand next operator preserve quality care and jobs

January 17th, 2017

Workers at Petaluma Valley Hospital are urging the hospital’s elected board of directors to be transparent in searching for a new company to operate the hospital — and guarantee that the next operator safeguard quality care, preserve jobs and honor collective bargaining rights.

Tuesday marked the last scheduled meeting of the Petaluma Valley Hospital District before bids are due from companies interested in running the hospital. Questions have swirled around the hospital since St. Joseph Health announced last year it would cease operating it.

The hospital district so far has refused to reveal which companies are bidding to run the hospital or make it a condition on any new operator to honor existing labor pacts.

A petition we submitted demanding the district safeguard patient care and workers rights was signed by 152 caregivers at the hospital. On Tuesday, Sheri Slaydon, an ultrasound technologist and shop steward, presented our call for the hospital directors to contract with a company that offers the following:

  1. A proven track record of providing quality care and adequate staffing levels for patients.

  2. A commitment to maintain existing patient services and establish family planning services.

  3. A commitment to invest in our community hospital to improve care and expand services.

  4. A commitment to preserve existing jobs and honor caregivers collective bargaining rights and current labor standards

  5. A commitment to be honest and transparent with our community.

 

In what could be a hopeful sign, Board President Elece Hempel told Slaydon and other workers at the meeting that board members “are committed” to all five points raised by the union.

But those words won’t carry much weight until the hospital opens up about its search for a new operator and make it a condition that the operator honor patient and worker rights.