NUHW members fight layoffs at Children’s Hospital Oakland
When management at Children’s Hospital Oakland decided to layoff five NUHW members and cut hours for five more, they knew they would have to bargain over the impact of those cuts. But they couldn’t have expected that more than 60 NUHW members and allied registered nurses would participate in the first bargaining session to show solidarity with their colleagues.
“I think they were shocked to see so many people. It made me feel great,” said Reginald Wright, a critical care support tech in the hospital’s emergency room, whose job is being eliminated. “I gave Children’s Hospital 30 years of hard work and dedication. Now they’re trying to lay me off during a pandemic and leave our patients with fewer caregivers.”
The hospital is seeking to layoff Wright and James Stokes, the only two critical care support techs in the Emergency Department. Both workers have been at Children’s hospital for three decades, supporting nurses, stocking essential supplies, assisting with IV placements, and transporting patients. The other three people slated to have their jobs eliminated do important clerical work.
Management also intends to reduce hours — and consequently cut benefits — for five additional NUHW members.
Hospital management is claiming these jobs are no longer necessary, but NUHW members demanded answers during the first bargaining session over the layoffs and made a strong case that they are all integral to the smooth functioning of the hospital and the delivery of quality patient care.
More bargaining sessions are scheduled and workers are planning a sticker-up and circulating a petition calling on the hospital to reverse course.
“We’re fighting for colleagues and our patients,” said Michelle Satiago-Curl, who participated in the bargaining session to show solidarity with her coworkers. “This is not a time to abandon healthcare workers. We are all essential.”