[June 13, 2016] LOS ANGELES – More than 1,120 healthcare workers voted to improve patient care at a hospital in Pomona, Calif. by joining SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), making it the largest hospital unionization in California in nearly 15 years.
“This is exciting for all of us because we want to provide the best patient care and have a stronger voice in what happens day-to-day in the hospital,” said Jeanette Castillo, a phlebotomist at Pomona Valley Hospital. “When workers have more input into how the hospital is run, it improves patient care and that only helps patients and the whole community.”
Results of the Jan. 22 election were confirmed only last Friday after the National Labor Relations Board rejected a prolonged vote challenge from hospital executives. The union campaign received support from local elected officials, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, U.S. Rep. Norma Torres (D-Pomona), State Sens. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa) and Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona).
The Pomona election is the largest hospital union victory in California since November 2001, when 1,300 workers at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center voted to unionize. More than 3,300 hospital workers throughout California have joined SEIU-UHW since April 2015.
The Pomona Valley employees include licensed vocational nurses, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, physical therapy aides, radiology technologists, surgery technicians, Ultrasound technologists, radiology support staff, admitting representatives, cooks and food service workers, customer care representatives, janitors and receptionists and secretaries. More than 1,000 registered nurses at the facility already are members of another union, SEIU 121RN.
By joining the union, the Pomona Valley employees will be able to help SEIU-UHW’s campaign to fully fund Medi-Cal, the program that provides health coverage to low-income seniors and people with disabilities in California. Pomona Valley gets 39 percent of its income from Medi-Cal, but the program’s long-term underfunding meant the hospital lost an estimated $60 million for treating Medi-Cal patients in 2013.