LOS ANGELES – Workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have overwhelmingly voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike in May to demand that their employer bargain in good faith with them over inadequate staffing, patient and worker safety concerns, and low wages amid historically high inflation.
Cedars-Sinai reported profits of more than $1 billion during the pandemic in 2021 – a 222% increase over the prior year. Cedars-Sinai CEO Tom Priselac received $5.6 million in compensation in 2021. The non-profit hospital paid 15 of its top executives more than $39 million in 2020. Non-profit hospitals such as Cedars-Sinai do not pay income or property taxes.
“It’s shameful that right here in Beverly Hills, healthcare workers are struggling to support their families on $17 an hour. Yet, Cedars-Sinai pays its executives millions,” said Yudis Cruz, a certified nursing assistant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “Cedars should invest more in their low-wage frontline caregivers and less in highly paid executives that rarely interact with patients.”
The strike vote covers more than 2,000 workers at the hospital who are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. The vote margin was 93 percent in favor of the strike. The strike vote applies to a variety of job classes, including certified nursing assistants, transporters, environmental services, plant operations, surgical technicians, and foodservice technicians.
“We’re committed to giving our patients the best care possible but that gets harder as our workload increased significantly during the pandemic,” said Jose Sanchez, a lead transporter at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “We’re rushed, stressed out, and stretched thin, which causes longer wait times for patients and delays in care. They called us heroes during the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, but we never received any real recognition for those of us who put our safety and our families’ safety at risk.”
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Media Contact: 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.