Three-Day Strike Starts Today at Kindred Hospital San Diego
Pharmacy and laboratory workers at Kindred Hospital San Diego will begin a three-day strike today, Oct. 23. The workers joined the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) earlier this year, but after four months of contract negotiations the hospital is still insisting on maintaining below market wages that have resulted in severe staffing shortages.
WHO/WHAT: Three-day strike by approximately 20 pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and clinical lab scientists.
WHEN/WHERE: Workers will walk picket lines from 6 to 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 through Wednesday, Oct. 25 outside Kindred Hospital San Diego, 1940 El Cajon Blvd. The strike will begin at 6 a.m. today and end at 6 a.m. Thursday.
The 70-bed hospital treats patients for longer stays typically after they are discharged from acute-care hospitals. In May, the facility, facing increased staffing shortages, agreed to a contract with approximately 100 workers represented by NUHW that raised salaries by an average of 26 percent.
However, Kindred has refused to consider comparable wage increases for 20 pharmacy and lab workers who unionized in February. Since contract talks began in July, the hospital has insisted on limiting wage increases to as little as 2 percent per year and setting salary floors as low as $21 per hour for pharmacy technicians.
“We could never accept Kindred’s offer in good conscience because we know it would leave the hospital even more understaffed for patients,” said Robin Ohren, a pharmacist at Kindred San Diego. “We just want a fair contract that pays us closer to market-rate wages so that we can afford to stay and patients get the care they need. Our pay rate is about one-third lower than what competing hospitals offer, and unlike healthcare workers at other hospitals in the area, we haven’t had any wage adjustments to compensate for the increased cost of living since the onset of COVID-19.”
The National Union of Healthcare Workers is a member-led movement that represents more than 17,000 workers in California and Hawai’i.