Seton workers win fight against hedge fund, secure strong three-year contract
The agreement also includes none of the takeaways that SEIU agreed to at other California hospitals owned by same company, New York hedge fund BlueMountain Capital Management and its Verity Health System. Among the drastic takeaways that NUHW members successfully fought were reductions in paid time off and severance pay, a higher hour threshold for part-time employees and benefits eligibility, and the elimination of past practices, extended sick leave, education leave, and jury duty pay.
Seton leaders achieved this victory by waging a multifaceted campaign both inside and outside the hospital to educate and reach out to hospital employees, elected officials, and the larger community. Almost a year ago, BlueMountain took over Seton’s operations after striking a deal with Daughters of Charity, the seven-hospital Catholic healthcare system that has run Seton Medical Center for nearly a century.
Seton workers can credit their victory to a high level of member engagement during the contract campaign. A large delegation of members delivered a petition to the CEO; members packed the room for every bargaining session; and members wore Fair Contract Now buttons every single day.
On the external front, caregivers delivered an effective message to community stakeholders. On October 15, NUHW co-sponsored a town hall meeting during which the community discussed the state of health care at Seton since the takeover by BlueMountain. With San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim and Daly City Vice-Mayor Dave Canepa acting as facilitators, dozens of community members and Seton caregivers testified regarding a number of critical issues impacting patient care, including the challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified staff due to BlueMountain–Seton’s below-market wages.