Licensed Medical Professionals form Union at Prime Healthcare’s Encino Hospital

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Hal Weiss, (213) 247-4585

July 7, 2020

Professionals will join Registered Nurses and others in their industry
in their united fight for patient safety, as members of SEIU 121RN.

Encino, CA—Licensed Medical Professionals employed at Encino Hospital Medical Center became officially unionized on Monday night, as the National Labor Relations Board certified the results of their union election held at the hospital a week prior. A group of 25 Licensed Professionals, which include Case Managers, Social Workers, Pharmacists, Clinical Lab Scientists, and Dietitians will now join the 120 Nurses, members of the Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN, a Union that represents Registered Nurses and other licensed healthcare workers. They will gain a Union voice on the job for the first time.

A statement from the Encino Professionals’ Union Organizing Committee expressed the importance of unionizing for both patients and workers. “As Licensed Medical Professionals working in the midst of COVID-19, we play a vital role in keeping our patients, and our communities, safe,” the statement read. “We’re working on the frontlines during the worst public health crisis in modern history…We’ll now have the ability to sit across the table from management to address issues such as under-staffing…and [safe] working conditions.”

The Committee cast the successful unionization effort as a dual win—for both Licensed Professionals and their patients. “With the collective voice we’ll get in a Union, we’ll have the opportunity to be even better advocates for our patients.”

The Professionals’ campaign to form their Union was hard fought. Hospital management aggressively tried to block the employees from joining together. They laid off nearly half of the staff just a week before their election, including the entire Clinical Lab. One of the laid off employees, a Clinical Lab Scientist named Ken Miyake, had worked at the hospital for 49 years. Hospital management brought in replacement personnel to fill the laid off positions.

Miyake described being called into a manager’s office, where he was asked for his badge and ID card “without any consolation or appreciation for my services.” He remarked that the incident was a “world of difference from the honors I received to mark my 30th year, where, under different management, I was celebrated for the ‘essential role’ I played in the organization.”

As one of their first actions as a Union, the Professionals will fight the unjust layoffs of their colleagues.

“We’re ready to sit down and negotiate with management,” the Organizing Committee’s statement read. “We can put these tensions behind us and work on making improvements at the hospital. Our counterparts in nearby hospitals have been able to use their united voice to advocate for department resources, bring management into discussions on patient safety and safe staffing, and win guaranteed support for ongoing education and training.”

“We’re elated to have the licensed professionals join our ranks, despite management’s concerted effort to dissuade them,” said SEIU Local 121RN President Dr. Nina Wells, DNP, MSN-NE, RN, PHN. “Together, we’ll continue to raise standards for everyone who works in our industries, and we’ll stand on the front lines of our ongoing fight for our patients’ safety.”

SEIU 121RN now represents 145 Registered Nurses and Licensed Professionals at Encino Hospital Medical Center, which is operated by the healthcare industry for-profit giant Prime Healthcare.

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SEIU Local 121RN represents registered nurses and other healthcare professionals in California. This member-led organization is committed to supporting optimum working conditions that allow nurses to provide quality patient care and safety

 

Statement of the Encino Hospital Medical Center Union Organizing Committee on the official certification of the June 29th vote to form their Union with SEIU 121RN.

One week ago, we voted YES to forming our Union with SEIU 121RN. That decision was a huge step forward toward a better future for our coworkers, our families, and our patients. Now that our election has been certified, we’re ready to begin the important work of advocating for our colleagues and our patients with a unified voice.

The road to get to this point was laced with obstacles. We had to overcome our own fears, as well as challenges brought by our employer. Today, we can put these tensions behind us and work on making improvements at the hospital. Our counterparts in nearby hospitals have been able to use their united voice to advocate for department resources, bring management into discussions on patient safety and safe staffing, and win guaranteed support for ongoing education and training.

We’re ready to sit down and negotiate with management, as Union members.

As Licensed Medical Professionals working in the midst of COVID-19, we play a vital role in keeping our patients, and our communities, safe. We’re working on the frontlines during the worst public health crisis in modern history. We’ll now have the ability to sit across the table from management to address issues such as under-staffing and working conditions. With the collective voice we’ll get in a Union, we’ll have the opportunity to be even better advocates for our patients.

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