Kaiser Healthcare Workers to Protest Short-Staffing and Patient Safety Concerns at Downey Medical Center on Wednesday

Kaiser Healthcare Workers to Protest Short-Staffing and Patient Safety Concerns at Downey Medical Center on Wednesday


February 15, 2023

Media Contact: Maria Leal – [email protected]

DOWNEY, Calif. – Caregivers and allies will protest and picket on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 12 noon at Kaiser’s Downey Medical Center, to protest plans by hospital management to outsource critical environmental services jobs to untrained contractors. The move could endanger patient and worker safety as the jobs are responsible for ensuring a clean and sterile hospital, patient room, operating rooms, and more.

“I’m worried about our patients and my family because we rely on this hospital for care too,” Miriam De La Paz, a Ward Clerk at Kaiser Downey Medical Center. “Proper training and a dedication to the job is important for all of us. Our EVS workers are highly trained, so patients don’t get infections in the OR, in their room, or anywhere in the hospital. Bringing in unqualified contractors could put us and our patients at risk.”

Environmental Services jobs are critical to stopping infections and protecting patient safety.

Kaiser’s plan would subcontract 35 Environmental Services (EVS) jobs to an outside company with no guarantees of proper training, healthcare, retirement benefits, and no path to a secure job in the community.

“We’re already understaffed and overworked. Hiring unbenefited outside contractors who don’t understand the hospital setting will make the problems worse,” said Arletta Thomas, a Housekeeping Attendant at Kaiser’s Downey Medical Center. “We need good jobs in Downey, and we need qualified healthcare workers with permanent jobs, so they stay at our hospital.”

The hospital maintains this move is necessary to solve the staffing problems in the hospital. However, Kaiser spent millions of dollars to block the $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers in Downey. By paying a fair wage and offering the same benefits they offer other healthcare workers, Kaiser can easily hire enough EVS staff to keep our hospitals safe because they don’t pay a fair wage.

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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.