Nearly 800 workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital to strike for five days starting July 20
UPDATE: We’ve received several letters of support from local politicians that Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital needs to treat its workers better.
In retaliation, the highly-profitable hospital has declared it will reduce proposed wage increases in addition to cutting benefits and doubling the cost of employee healthcare
For too long, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has been slashing jobs, cutting corners on PPE and stockpiling cash for its out-of-state corporate owner, Providence St. Joseph Health.
Now, nearly 800 workers, including nursing assistants, respiratory therapists and medical technicians, represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, are fighting back. They notified the hospital Thursday of their intention to hold a five-day strike from Monday, July 20 through Friday, July 24.
Workers have been without a contract for more than a year, and the hospital is insisting on benefit cuts and healthcare takeaways despite recording massive profits. Rather than negotiate in good faith to avoid a work stoppage, hospital management has told workers it will rescind one-third of a proposed wage increase in retaliation for moving forward with a strike.
“We don’t have enough PPE to keep us safe, but management wants us to pay twice as much to insure our families,” said Shannon Signer, a radiology technician at Santa Rosa Memorial. “Our health has never been at greater risk. We need our hospital to support us, not squeeze us for every last dime during a pandemic.”
Over the past three years, workers have kept the hospital open through two wildfires and a pandemic. Meanwhile Santa Rosa Memorial, which is the designated trauma center for all Sonoma county residents, has netted $201 million in operating profits.
But instead of investing that money to improve patient care and provide for its dedicated workforce, Santa Rosa Memorial — and its out-of-state parent corporation — are lavishing executives with six-figure bonuses, while demanding that caregivers accept:
- Insufficient PPE
- Unsafe staffing levels
- Cuts to paid-time-off, which includes sick leave
- Sharp increases to health care costs, including more than doubling the cost of annual premiums for the most popular family plan from $1,887 to $4,609.
Santa Rosa Memorial is one of the most profitable hospitals owned by Providence St. Joseph Health, a multibillion dollar hospital chain, which has received more than $500 million in federal stimulus funds, according to a recent New York Times story. Over the past three fiscal years, Santa Rosa Memorial has reported $201 million in operating profits — nearly double the combined operating profits of Providence’s four other Northern California hospitals.
“I was evacuated during the 2019 Kindcade Wildfire and still kept working,” said Taylor Davison, who registers patients in the hospital’s emergency room.” Now Santa Rosa Memorial wants to cut my sick leave and health benefits during a pandemic. We can’t provide the care our community needs when our hospital only cares about profits.”
The National Union of Healthcare workers is a member-led movement representing more than 15,000 healthcare workers including nearly 800 at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
Photo: Will Carruthers
Letters of Support
- Logan Harvey, Mayor, City of Sonoma
- Teresa Barrett, Mayor, City of Petaluma
- Victoria Fleming, Vice Mayor, City of Santa Rosa
- Rachel Hundley, Vice Mayor, City of Sonoma
- Chris Rogers, Santa Rosa City Council
- Lynda Hopkins, Sonoma County Supervisor, Fifth District
- Shirlee Zane, Sonoma County Supervisor, Third District
- Susan Gorin, Sonoma County Supervisor, First District
- Sonoma County Legislative Delegation