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San Luis Obispo County

Tenet health care workers vote to strike

Tenet Health Central Coast Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center
Health care workers at 11 Tenet Health hospitals have voted to strike

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Health care workers at 11 Tenet Hospitals including Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center have overwhelmingly voted to strike.

Workers say they are demanding the hospital chain bargain with employees over health, safety and working conditions as they risk their lives caring for patients with COVID-19.

96 percent of the 4,300 workers voted in favor of the strike.

“We are calling on Tenet to increase its investment in worker safety and staffing in the middle of the worst pandemic in over a century – to ensure the safety of healthcare workers, our patients, and our entire communities,” said representatives for the union representing the health care workers.

The union alleges that Tenet has made more than $1 billion in profits so far in 2020 and received more than "$250 million in taxpayer bailout money in California."

Tenet Health Central Coast released the following statement to our newsroom regarding the vote and reputed that talks have broken down and repeated that an official strike has not begun.

“The SEIU UHW, the labor union that represents non-nursing ancillary staff in our hospitals, has issued a press release stating that their members have voted to authorize a strike. The union’s press release is misleading for a number of reasons:

We have been negotiating in good faith since May and have made considerable progress. Last week the parties reached agreement on over 40 non-economic items and we are awaiting the union’s response on over 30 proposals.

We are actively negotiating with the union.  Despite the union’s suggestion, our negotiations have not broken down and we have not received the required 10-day strike notice from the union.  There is no strike currently underway.

Should the union proceed to notify us of a strike, our hospitals will remain fully operational and patient care will continue uninterrupted.

We are disappointed the union has used this tactic in an attempt to put pressure on our hospitals when our focus remains on caring for our communities during the pandemic.

Every protocol in our COVID response has been built around the safety of our patients and staff and in compliance with CDC guidelines and state orders. In fact, our national employee average infection rate is under four percent compared to a reported national average of more than approximately 13 percent

We are committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith with SEIU UHW and to reaching a fair and equitable resolution.”

Statement from Tenet Health Central Coast

The health care workers are required by law to notify their employer ten days before an impending strike. Representatives for the health care workers' union say the strike will likely begin next month if changes are not made.

The 11 Tenet Hospitals who have voted in favor of a strike are listed below:

  • INDIO: John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital
  • JOSHUA TREE: High Desert Medical Center
  • LAKEWOOD: Lakewood Regional Medical Center
  • LOS ALAMITOS: Los Alamitos Medical Center
  • MANTECA: Doctors Hospital of Manteca
  • MODESTO: Doctors Medical Center
  • PALM SPRINGS: Desert Regional Medical Center
  • SAN LUIS OBISPO: Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center
  • SAN RAMON: San Ramon Regional Medical Center
  • TEMPLETON: Twin Cities Community Hospital
  • TURLOCK: Emanuel Medical Center
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1 Comment

  1. Good, I did a travel assignment at a Tenet in Fountain Valley, CA and lasted all of 3 weeks. Out of the 20 travelers that started with me, I was one of the last 3 left.

    Firstly they told me the position was in their ICU, but then later the recruiter said actually it’s for their stepdown but don’t worry, you won’t float any lower than stepdown and your ratio is 1:3 there. I agree, because at the time there was a lull in travel jobs. First day of orientation the manager has told us they have hired 80 travelers so far. The number just isn’t making sense in my head, because if you ever see this hospital. It’s all of 1 story tall. A big campus, but 1 story. And they only have 1 ICU.

    2nd they tell me they are out of ratio currently and the stepdown is 1:5 right now. Fine I’ll roll with the punches but I’m already certain this isn’t looking good. Get to the unit. It’s a mad house. People running around everywhere. And then I start to see all the nonsense they have done to make the job impossible. No CNAs, 2 thermometers for 25+ patients that you gotta get from covid to covid room with. MIXING covid and NON-covid on the same unit. Broken supplies, no supplies. Everything takes far too many steps to do. Double signing subQ insulin. How do you do that in a covid unit when all the computers are in the room? And then these patients are actually sick as f***. Trached/vented with drips. It was just brutal.

    Then the staffing only got worse and I immediately understand why they hired so many travelers. Once they see the conditions there they freakin run for the hills. 3 travelers walked out DURING the orientation day on the floor.

    I tried to talk to the manager (who had only started the week before I arrived after the previous manager just ….went totally MIA??) about process improvement and all the things that could make the workload doable. I suggested tons of reasonable solutions that I have seen at the many facilities I have worked at that will help make things possible with the lack of staff. And to everything I riddle off it’s no no policy says this, Joint Commission won’t like that (mother trucker do you see the state of your unit? Where’s JC? I haven’t seen them since this pandemic started).

    My last week there they had increased the ratio to 1:8 and that’s when I was like peace I’m out.

    I found another hospital 20 miles away that somehow had no staffing problems, and when I told them where I had just worked they would say “OH YOU MEAN FATAL VALLEY?!”. Clearly it had a reputation pre-covid.

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