NUHW members protest layoffs at Napa’s Queen of the Valley
Napa’s largest hospital flies a banner that reads “Heroes Work Here,” but instead of honoring its workers for their sacrifices during the pandemic, Queen of the Valley Medical Center is trying to send them to the unemployment line.
Despite reporting strong profits in 2020, Queen of the Valley has sent pink slips to approximately 20 workers since November, including several NUHW members. With 11 additional workers slated to lose their jobs next week, potentially lengthening Emergency Room waits that often already exceed three hours, NUHW members held an informational picket outside the hospital with community allies including Napa Mayor Scott Sedgley.
“I want to send a message to the community, hospital, and organization, that we care about our patients and we wish they’d care enough about us” and stop the layoffs, Paula Reimers, a respiratory therapist told the Napa County Register. “We need these people. This is going to hurt patients and they don’t care.”
Queen of the Valley has laid off 12 workers since last November. On May 7, the hospital is planning to lay off 11 more workers including four cooks, a courier and six emergency room technicians who provide direct patient care including conducting blood tests, taking vital signs and providing wound care.
“Our patients already often must wait more than three hours for care in the Emergency Room,” said Wendy Espinoza, an Emergency Technician and Napa resident. “We desperately need more caregivers in the ER, not fewer. This layoff makes no sense and it will put patients at risk.”
According to financial reports filed with the state, Queen of the Valley has remained profitable during the pandemic. After reporting a $42 million operating profit in fiscal year 2019, the hospital reported quarterly operating profits totaling $27.4 million for 2020. Queen of the Valley’s parent company, Providence, reported a $749 million net profit in 2020 with $15.3 billion in cash reserves.
“Queen of the Valley made millions of dollars while we battled COVID without proper staffing to keep us and our patients safe,” Tiffany Miller, an Emergency Technician and Napa resident said. “There is no justification for any layoffs. We should be adding staff and providing patients faster emergency care.”