LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Workers at 11 Tenet Healthcare hospitals in California have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike to demand that the giant hospital chain bargain in good faith with employees over health, safety, and other working conditions in their facilities, as caregivers continue to risk their lives caring for patients with COVID-19.
The strike vote covers 4,300 workers at the 11 facilities who are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. The vote margin was 96 percent in favor of the strike.
Tenet has rejected most of the workers' proposals on pandemic safety. Workers are asking Tenet to go beyond the minimal federal guidelines to make sure the most comprehensive protections are in place.
"We are scared to come to work knowing we are at great risk of exposure to COVID-19," said Gisella Thomas, a respiratory therapist at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. "We want to work with management at our hospitals to increase protections for our health, our patients' health, our families' health, and the health of our communities. We have put forth a pandemic safety proposal that addresses issues workers are concerned about, like staffing, PPE, and increased COVID-19 testing for employees."
Tenet has made more than $1 billion in profits in the first three quarters of 2020 and received more than $250 million in taxpayer bailout money in California alone. Tenet's Chief Executive Officer Ron Rittenmeyer was paid more than $24 million in 2019, and the chain's president and chief operating officer Saum Sutaria was paid nearly $14 million.
"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."
The strike will occur at the following Tenet hospitals in California:
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
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the United States, with 97,000 members. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.