Memorial Hospital workers picket for safe staffing levels

NewsOctober 21, 2010

More than 100 protest against layoffs and buyouts that reduce the quality of care

Salinas, Calif.—More than a hundred healthcare workers marched outside Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital today to draw attention to the potential impact of more than 100 layoffs and employee buyouts ordered by hospital management. Employees decided to hold the picket by a 97% vote last week.

“Cutting jobs means cutting healthcare for our community,” said Nina Perez, an OB tech in the Labor and Delivery department for 11 years. “When they eliminate this many staff, patients and their families are going to see the difference. Caregivers are already stretched too thin.”

Last May, nearly 900 respiratory care practitioners, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, clerical workers and others voted by a landslide to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) and leave their old union, SEIU. But the losing union filed frivolous objections to delay the transition. While collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues from the workers who rejected them, SEIU officials failed to protect quality jobs in Salinas or quality care at Memorial Hospital.

Now, without consulting the community, Memorial Hospital’s management has chosen to eliminate hundreds of positions. Workers want an immediate halt to the job cuts until employees and community groups can be brought into the decisions around staffing at the hospital.

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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is California’s fastest-growing union, representing caregivers in every job classification. NUHW is dedicated to member democracy, dignity and justice for healthcare workers, and quality, affordable healthcare for all. |