After Three Caregiver Deaths, SEIU-UHW Calls for Vaccine Transparency at Riverside Community Hospital

After Three Caregiver Deaths, SEIU-UHW Calls for Vaccine Transparency at Riverside Community Hospital

For Immediate Release

February 12, 2021 


Renée Saldaña

Oakland, Calif. – Caregivers at HCA’s Riverside Community Hospital are concerned over the administration’s refusal to provide information about employee vaccination rates after losing its third member at the hospital to COVID-19. Healthcare workers have consistently raised safety concerns that the hospital has not adequately addressed, and dozens of healthcare workers have contracted the virus.

Sylvia Morton, an emergency room registrar at Riverside Community Hospital, died of COVID-19 in January. Two workers at that facility have already died from the virus last year – Rosa Luna, a housekeeper of 25 years, and Sally Lara, a laboratory assistant who came out of retirement to work at Riverside Community Hospital during the pandemic.

“We’ve already lost three of our own coworkers to COVID-19,” said Jeff Acosta, a multi-skilled clerk at Riverside Community Hospital. “We need to know if our hospital is doing enough to outreach to workers about the vaccine. Ensuring that our coworkers are vaccinated is critical to our safety and the safety of our patients.”

In early January, amidst growing evidence of inequities in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine across the state, the union representing caregivers at Riverside Community Hospital requested information on employee vaccination rates. The hospital is refusing to supply any data on employee vaccination.

“HCA and Riverside Community Hospital are clear outliers when it comes to working collaboratively with caregivers to combat the pandemic,” says SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan. “While other hospital systems are being transparent with their data and working with our union on outreach efforts, Riverside Community Hospital is acting like it has something to hide.  We need them to put caregiver safety first and be transparent about how effective its employee vaccination efforts have been.”

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SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the United States, with more than 97,000 members.