NUHW members pressure Providence to reverse layoffs, preserve birthing center

NewsMarch 26, 2021

Several dozen NUHW members at six Providence hospitals along with allies and elected leaders made calls to company executives, urging them to do right by workers and patients.

NUHW members at Providence hospitals organized the Day of Action on March 16 in response to a flurry of layoffs and subcontracting moves that threaten to cost more than two dozen workers their jobs. Providence has also announced that it plans to close the obstetrics unit at Redwood Memorial Hospital, forcing women in rural Humboldt County to travel at least an hour to the nearest hospital with a birthing center.

“Providence puts giant banners on our hospitals calling us ‘heroes,’ but they don’t respect us or the work that we do for our communities,” said Taylor Davison, an ER Registrar at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. “There is no excuse for this level of greed. We are still confronting the biggest public health crisis of our lifetime, and Providence is already throwing us and our patients under the bus while it aims for even higher profits this year.”

The pandemic has not stopped Providence from being profitable. The company received nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus funds and posted a $739 million net profit for 2020. Its cash reserves swelled to $15.3 billion. 

However, since the start of 2021, Providence announced the following layoffs in Northern California:

  • 12 workers at Napa’s Queen of the Valley Medical Center.
  • 8 workers at Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals in Sonoma County.
  • 5 workers at St. Joseph Eureka Hospital.

In addition to laying off workers, Providence has moved to outsource eight courier jobs at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Queen of the Valley Medical Center, where Providence reported combined operating profits exceeding $114 million in 2019, the last year for which complete data is available.

Among allies joining workers in calling Providence executives to rescind the layoffs were Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers and Humboldt County Supervisors Michelle Bushnell, who also urged the company to preserve the birthing center at Redwood Memorial Hospital.