HealthcareCedars-Sinai workers set strike date

Cedars-Sinai workers set strike date

Members of a union representing 2,000 workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are set to go on strike May 9.

Service Employees Union International-United Healthcare Workers West members are protesting unfair labor practices, safety concerns, short staffing and low wages, the union said Friday.

The union’s contract with the not-for-profit hospital ended March 31. Contract bargaining began March 21, according to the union. Earlier this month, the union announced workers planned to go on strike in May if no progress was made in negotiations.

“Management doesn’t seem to take patient or worker safety seriously,” Luz Oglesby, a clinical partner at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said in a news release. “In our latest round of bargaining, Cedars-Sinai rejected our proposals on PPE stockpiles, COVID exposure notifications, keeping pregnant and immunocompromised workers away from COVID patient and other safety measures. We’re asking for basic workplace protections and respect for the lives and health of caregivers and patients.”

Cedars-Sinai said it presented a “strong economic proposal” at the start of negotiations that workers rejected. That offer included raises that would’ve taken effect March 27, according to the hospital.

“We respect the rights of SEIU-UHW members to take this step. The most effective way to reach a fair agreement, however, is for both parties to stay at the bargaining table and finish negotiations,” Cedars-Sinai said in a statement.

The SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West represents certified nursing assistants, transporters, environmental services workers, plant operations workers, surgical technicians and food service technicians.

A strike would begin at 5 a.m. May 9. The union conducted informational picketing outside the hospital April 20.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked numerous labor actions among U.S. healthcare workers, including unionization campaigns, strike authorizations and protests. Employees have sought changes such as higher staffing levels, better safety and increased compensation.

Earlier this month, more than 8,000 nurses and other healthcare workers at 15 Sutter Health sites in California held a one-day strike over concerns about staffing levels and health and safety standards. On Monday, 5,000 nurses at Stanford Health Care and Stanford Children’s Health in California went on strike over contract negotiations.

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