[Sept. 19, 2016] LOS ANGELES – Concern is growing about Pomona Valley Hospital CEO Richard Yochum’s refusal to recognize workers’ vote to improve patient care by joining a union, as three Pomona City Councilmembers in recent weeks have urged the hospital to stop stalling and begin negotiating a contract with 1,100 employees.
“I urge you to respect the choice of workers at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center to unionize with the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) by immediately recognizing SEIU-UHW and begin negotiating a union contract in good faith,” said Pomona City Councilmembers John Nolte, Debra Martin and Christina Carrizosa in separate letters to Yochum.
A majority of workers voted Jan. 22, 2016 to join SEIU-UHW but the hospital challenged the eligibility of some workers to vote in the election. The local office of the National Labor Relations Board dismissed the employer’s challenge, confirming that a majority of workers voted for SEIU-UHW. Pomona Valley Hospital is now challenging that decision to the Washington, D.C. office of the labor board. More than 1,000 registered nurses at the hospital are already members of a different union, SEIU 121RN.
In a city where the median household income is $49,000, the ten highest-paid Pomona Valley Hospital executives received a combined $4.8 million in compensation – including $1.7 million for Yochum – according to 2014 figures provided by the Internal Revenue Service.
“If hospital executives truly wanted to improve patient care, they would respect our decision and start working with us to make the hospital better,” said Danny Hernandez, an environmental services worker at Pomona Valley Hospital. “It only harms the community when executives put their own greed before the public good.”
The city councilmembers’ action follows similar letters sent to the hospital CEO in June by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, U.S. Rep. Norma Torres (D-Pomona), State Sens. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa) and Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona).
The Pomona Valley Hospital employees affected include licensed vocational nurses, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, physical therapy aides, radiology technologists, surgery technicians, Ultrasound technologists, radiology support staff, admitting representatives, cooks and food service workers, customer care representatives, janitors and receptionists and secretaries.