SEIU-UHW Welcomes BlueMountain Capital’s Groundbreaking Agreement to Preserve Safety-Net Hospitals

[Dec. 14, 2015] OAKLAND, Calif. – Healthcare workers announced today that they fully embrace turning around the former Daughters of Charity Health System to be run by BlueMountain Capital Management, and are eager to focus on caring for the communities that they serve.

“Our communities owe Attorney General Kamala Harris a huge ‘thank you’ for placing quality care conditions on the sale of our hospitals,” said Marc Quarles, an ultrasound technician at Saint Louise Medical Center in Gilroy. “Now we can continue to provide top-notch care, keep the hospitals open, and build a better partnership with workers and the community.”

Throughout the process to sell the Daughters of Charity hospitals, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) members have prioritized preserving the Daughters of Charity’s historic mission of serving the poor.

Earlier this year, SEIU-UHW healthcare workers were joined by state legislators, community members and faith leaders to express opposition to the potential sale of six Daughters of Charity safety-net hospitals to for-profit Prime Healthcare, which had threatened to put the facilities into bankruptcy. After a series of hearings, California Attorney General Harris placed quality care conditions on the sale to protect community health. Prime Healthcare later walked away from the deal, saying, “the conditions placed on the sale by the California attorney general are so burdensome and restrictive that it would be impossible for Prime Healthcare — or any buyer — to make the changes needed to operate and save these hospitals.”

“We are glad to begin the next chapter of our health system” said Quarles of Saint Louise. “Prime Healthcare threatened to bankrupt Daughters of Charity and shred it to pieces. We are optimistic about the new management and are glad we get to keep serving our patients.”

As BlueMountain accepts the groundbreaking deal, it also assumes an innovative new contract that was recently ratified between 1,900 SEIU-UHW healthcare workers and the Daughters of Charity Health System. The three-year agreement protects benefits and includes a commitment to full time employment, freedom for non-union workers to join the union, and job protections for experienced staff who are committed to providing excellent patient care and operational performance.

The hospitals affected by the contract agreement include St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, Calif.; St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles; O’Connor Hospital in San Jose; and Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, Calif.

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