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