News of the Month — December 2022

NewsDecember 19, 2022

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NUHW member Natalie Rogers, a licensed clinical social worker at Kaiser Permanente, has made history, becoming the first Black woman to serve as Santa Rosa mayor. Natalie was first elected to the Santa Rosa council in 2020 and represents part of the city’s west and southwest areas. On Tuesday, December 13, fellow council members selected Natalie to lead the city for the next two years.

NUHW members Kudjo Equida, Myrna King, and Jonathan Mexicanos were included in a Los Angeles Daily News/Orange County Register and KTLA Channel 5 story about caregivers holding an info picket at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center as they continue bargaining a new contract amid a severe understaffing crisis at the hospital.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the California Medical Association, along with the state’s governor and legislature, have allotted $1.3 billion of the state’s budget toward retention bonuses for healthcare workers who provided care at hospitals, clinics and skilled nursing facilities between July 30 and October 28 and continued to provide on-site services on Nov. 28. Each eligible worker can receive a bonus up to $1,000. They must register with the Department of Health Care Services by Dec. 21, then submit an application via the online portal, which opened November 29 and will close December 30. Payments are expected to be issued in January.

KITV did a story featuring NUHW member Rachel Kaya, a psychologist at Kaiser’s Maui Lani clinic and Kaiser patient Kimberly Stewart, who talked about the difficulties of getting professional mental health care services right now in the islands due to the ongoing NUHW mental healthcare worker strike against Kaiser. Stewart hasn’t seen Kaya for treatment in the four months since the Kaiser strike began.

Hazel Hawkins Hospital has issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, (WARN) act to employees due to a possible closure if the hospital cannot produce funding, KION reported. The hospital has also instituted a hiring freeze, a strategic review of staff position, an audit of its billing department to maximize collections, and does not rule out layoffs after the San Benito County Board of Supervisors rejected its $10 million loan request, informs KSWB. The County did approve a $2.2 million advance of the hospital’s property tax refund and has also requested a $3 million bridge loan from the state as the Dec. 31 deadline to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy nears.

The Orange County Register  and Becker’s Hospital Review published stories after more than 800 NUHW-represented nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare professionals at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital voted to ratify a three-year contract that includes wages averaging 16 percent to 41 percent, as well as measures to address understaffing. This is the first contract these caregivers have negotiated under NUHW.

Northwest Labor Press and Becker’s Hospital Review report that the Oregon Nurses Association has asked the Multnomah County District Attorney office to investigate Providence for alleged “ongoing wage theft” against healthcare workers. The ONA accuses Providence of systematically underpaying workers since July 8, 2022 after the company adopted a new Genesis HR Solutions payroll platform. The adoption of this payroll system led to lost pay and benefits for Providence healthcare workers across the country, many of whom were not paid for the hours they worked or have missed entire paychecks.