FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 20, 2023
LOS ANGELES – Frontline healthcare workers from St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, who raised alarms about significant understaffing, patient safety, and other issues that affect their working conditions at Prime Healthcare, have been terminated from their positions days before Christmas. After consistently bringing up issues affecting them as workers with local hospital management in their facilities and during contract negotiations, these caregivers took their concerns to top executives at Prime Healthcare’s headquarters in Ontario to emphasize the urgent need for safer staffing, and improvements in patient care and their working conditions.
“We wanted to take our concerns about working conditions, safety and patient care to Prime’s headquarters to ensure the CEO heard directly from frontline caregivers. We’ve brought up these issues for years to management in our hospital and at the bargaining table, and we wanted corporate leadership to understand how difficult the workloads are and how dire the patient care crisis is at Prime Healthcare,” said Mayra Castaneda, an ultrasound technician at St. Francis Medical Center for 25 years. “Instead of being appreciated for trying to make hospitals safer for workers and our patients, or Prime taking action to improve working conditions and patient care, we were fired. It’s a huge red flag for patients at Prime Healthcare that their caregivers are terminated for speaking up about safety in their workplace and the quality of care patients receive.”
Aside from voicing their concerns directly to corporate leadership at Prime headquarters, healthcare workers also delivered letters from various local elected officials in support of their demands to improve patient care in their hospitals, including the Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Janice Hahn.
“It is disgraceful that Prime Healthcare fired these workers who were raising serious concerns about safety conditions and patient care,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Instead of addressing the critical issue of understaffing, Prime Healthcare has chosen to silence those advocating for positive change. I join those demanding the reinstatement of these frontline workers and a commitment from Prime Healthcare to prioritize the safety and well-being of patients and staff.”
Healthcare workers at four Prime Healthcare facilities are on an unfair labor practice strike from December 20 – 26, including St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, Centinela Medical Center in Inglewood, Garden Grove Hospital Medical Center, and Encino Medical Center. The frontline caregivers are taking this action of last resort after months of trying to address the facilities’ long-standing issues of understaffing, worker turnover, and patient care concerns at the bargaining table. They have been met only by bad faith bargaining, threats, intimidation, and other unfair labor practices by Prime Healthcare management.
The strike is the second recent work stoppage at Prime Healthcare facilities in Southern California. The first took place in October when the same group of workers, represented by SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, went on a five-day unfair labor practice strike.
Frontline healthcare workers participating in the strike include emergency room technicians, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, radiology technicians, medical assistants, respiratory technicians, and many others.
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Renée Saldaña, [email protected]
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.