Workers to strike Seton Medical Center in Daly City Monday, March 25 and Tuesday March 26

NewsMarch 21, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 21, 2024
Contact: Matthew Artz, 510-435-8035,

The two-day strike comes in response to the hospital imposing a restrictive new health plan that is forcing out caregivers and putting Seton’s future in further jeopardy

Under Seton’s new health plan, many caregivers, who have sacrificed to keep the safety-net hospital open, can’t find doctors or hospitals that will take their insurance

DALY CITY, Calif. — Workers at Seton Medical Center went years without raises and put their lives on the line to keep Seton open through the pandemic and multiple bankruptcies. But instead of honoring those sacrifices, the hospital’s Los Angeles-based owner recently cut their health benefits leaving many Seton caregivers unable to access medical care for themselves and their families.

In violation of their union contracts, AHMC Healthcare changed its health plans on Jan. 1, forcing workers at Seton to either pay up to $6,000 a year to keep access to their doctors and hospitals or accept a new health plan with very few participating doctors mostly based in San Francisco and only two participating hospital systems: John Muir Health and Seton, which doesn’t offer pediatric or prenatal care.

“When I took my baby for her 4-month check-up in January, I was told they couldn’t find my new insurance in their system and that I’d have to pay $287 out-of-pocket,” said Rachelle Ortua, a materials management technician at Seton, who lives in the South Bay, more than 50 miles from John Muir Memorial Hospital in Walnut Creek. “It’s frightening to think that we now have to travel 45 minutes just to visit a doctor that will see my daughter and even longer for a hospital visit. My coworkers and I take pride in providing proper care for Seton patients; I think it’s reasonable to expect AHMC to provide proper care for us.”

WHO/WHAT: A two-day strike by approximately 430 Seton workers, including nursing assistants, licensed vocational nurses, respiratory therapists, housekeepers and medical technicians.

WHEN/WHERE: Picket lines will run from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26 outside Seton Medical Center, 1900 Sullivan Ave, Daly City with rallies at 11 a.m.

The striking workers fear that the sharp reduction to their health benefits is a further sign that AHMC is considering closing the safety-net hospital that has primarily served low-income immigrant communities in Northern San Mateo County and San Francisco for generations.

The company bought Seton out of bankruptcy court four years ago, agreeing to continue operating it as an acute care hospital at least through 2025. But AHMC has gutted patient care services and initiated several rounds of layoffs, cutting non-nurse staffing by nearly 25 percent. The company has also:

  • Surrendered Seton’s Advanced Stroke Certification,

  • Stopped providing 24/7 radiology services, forcing patients to wait days for procedures,

  • Reduced wound care services, and

  • Refused to fix broken equipment including the service elevator needed to safely transfer patients throughout the hospital.

AHMC imposed the health benefit cuts to all union employees, including nurses, but the strike is being held by approximately 430 workers whose contracts expired last December. In bargaining, the workers, represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, are near agreement on wages, but won’t sign a new contract that doesn’t restore their health benefits.

“Seton is our community hospital, and our top priority is to keep it open for patients, but Seton won’t survive if it refuses to provide workers with basic access to medical care,” said John Paes, a respiratory therapist and Daly City resident, who has worked at Seton for 27 years.

Paes said that so far his family has had to change doctors, while three medical bills have not been paid by his insurance, and one is already on a credit hold.

“The situation makes me feel very sad,” Paes said. “A lot of us are hanging on because we’ve been like a family. It’s hard to break that bond, but it hurts because of how AHMC is treating us and our patients.”


The National Union of Healthcare Workers is a member-led union with 19,000 members including about 450 members at Seton Medical Center in Daly City and Seton Coastside in Moss Beach.