Marina del Rey, Calif., Dec. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Healthcare workers at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital will be making public statements and answering questions on Monday, December 12 at 8 am, as they begin a five-day unfair labor practice strike to demand their employer bargain in good faith with them over inadequate staffing, patient and worker safety concerns and low wages. The strike is scheduled to last through Friday, December 16.
Since the start of the pandemic, workers at the hospital have sounded the alarm over low pay, high turnover, and the rising cost of living they say is threatening access to quality care for patients. In response, their employer has bargained in bad faith and committed unfair labor practices.
“We want our employer to stop committing unfair labor practices, and bargain in good faith. We’re struggling to keep up, and people are leaving because they just can’t afford to work here. But the ones really paying the price are our patients and their families. We are so short-staffed that I’ve seen people wait for more than a day for a procedure that used to take a few hours,” said Eric Melo, an emergency room technician at the hospital. “Every day, I’m running around doing the jobs of three people. I’m sure it’s saving Cedars-Sinai money, but it’s hurting patient care.”
Despite Cedars-Sinai Medical System taking in more than $1 billion in profits since the start of the pandemic, caregivers are severely underpaid, understaffed and overworked at their Marina del Rey facility, where nearly 400 employees are in negotiations with management. But management refuses to bargain in good faith. This comes just months after a successful five-day unfair labor practice strike in May of 2022, forcing Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to bargain in good faith, which in turn resulted in significant pay increases for more than a thousand union-represented caregivers at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills.
“We see it everywhere, workers are fed up, and employers are having to raise pay if they want to attract and retain staff,” said Gregorio Oropeza, an admitting representative at the facility. “They’re raising pay at Target and Jack in the Box, but they aren’t raising pay at Marina del Rey Hospital, and to make matters worse our employer refuses to even bargain in good faith. The difference is that instead of having to wait longer in a cashier aisle or a drive-thru line, people’s lives can literally be put at risk when we are short-staffed. Cedars-Sinai needs to invest their profits in patient care before anything else.”
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) represents nearly 400 caregivers at Cedars-Sinai’s Marina del Rey Hospital in job classes, including nursing assistants, surgical technicians, pharmacists, dietitians, lab assistants, environmental services/housekeeping, registration assistants and many other frontline staff.