RIVERSIDE/SAN JOSE, Calif. – Thousands of healthcare workers at five HCA facilities in California have voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike to demand their employer stop the threats and intimidation, and bargain in good faith with them over short-staffing, low-wages, and worker safety concerns. Caregivers at HCA hospitals fear that the company’s profit focus is endangering worker and patient safety.
Beginning on May 22, the strikes will take place for five days at five HCA locations, including HCA Good Samaritan Hospital and HCA Regional Medical Center in San Jose, HCA Los Robles Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, HCA West Hills Hospital, and HCA Riverside Community Hospital.
“We are prepared to strike because HCA cannot keep bargaining in bad faith and denying what we experience every day at our hospitals,” said Xochitl Gonzalez, a patient care technician at Los Robles Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. “I have never seen working conditions or patient care suffer more. But executives counting shares don’t see that—they never have to look our patients in the face like we do.”
A recent survey by SEIU-UHW of healthcare workers at HCA Healthcare found that more than 86% of caregivers reported consistently being somewhat or severely understaffed, 78% reported having insufficient time for proper patient care, and 70% reported delays or denials of patient care due to short staffing.
This chronic short staffing has allowed HCA Healthcare to rake in billions of dollars, resulting in huge payouts for executives and shareholders. In 2021, HCA reported nearly $7 billion in profits and distributed $8 billion in payouts to shareholders. Since 2011, HCA has paid out more than $32 billion to investors.
“It’s an unsafe environment. That could be me, or my relative or one of my coworkers’ relatives,” said Shari Moseley, an admissions registrar at Regional Medical Center in San Jose. “But management is trying to silence us, trying to stop us from standing up for our patients and better working conditions. It’s time HCA listens to caregivers, invest in staffing and end the patient care crisis in our hospitals now.”
The strike also follows a national report released by SEIU, the nation’s largest union of healthcare workers, revealing a dangerous pattern of understaffing at HCA hospitals. The report analyzes federal date to demonstrate systemic, chronic short staffing at HCA hospitals and reveals how it directly impacts patient care.
In response to workers’ attempts to improve conditions, management has been threatening and intimidating caregivers, and violating labor law by stopping them from meeting and talking in hospital public areas, throwing Union staff out of hospitals, and telling caregivers they cannot wear our Union logos.
The vote margin was 97 percent in favor of the strike. The strike vote applies to approximately 3,000 healthcare workers in a variety of job classes, including emergency room technicians, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, lab techs, dieticians, EVS, pharmacy techs, cooks, food service workers, transporters, and others.
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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.