[Nov. 30, 2017] LOS ANGELES – Healthcare workers spoke out in Los Angeles against California Assembly District 51 candidate Luis Lopez’s failure to stand up for improving patient care at a hospital in Duarte, Calif. where Lopez is employed as director of government relations.
“It’s hard to believe Luis Lopez claims he is a progressive who cares about healthcare when he’s done nothing for the caregivers at his hospital who struggle with understaffing and can’t afford to get treated at their own hospital because it’s so expensive,” said Martina Rodriguez, an operating room technician at City of Hope Hospital. “We need a healthcare champion like Wendy Carrillo who will stand up for us and other working families.”
Concerns about understaffing at City of Hope’s operating room and nursing department led 43 physicians – including the Chiefs of surgery, neurosurgery and urology – to send an Oct. 31 letter to the hospital’s CEO urging executive staff to address the situation.
The hospital reported net income of $104 million in fiscal year 2015-2016, yet requires City of Hope caregivers to pay more than $5,000 a year for family health coverage.
Lopez, who started his leadership position at City of Hope in September 2015, has not stepped in to share concerns on behalf of the workers at the hospital. Meanwhile, his opponent – Wendy Carrillo – received the endorsement of several community organizations and labor unions, including SEIU State Council. The runoff election for the vacant District 51 seat is Dec. 5. The district includes East Los Angeles and the Chinatown, Highland Park and Echo Park neighborhoods.
More than 750 workers at City of Hope are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), and are renegotiating their contact, which expired Sept. 30, 2017.