FOR: DECEMBER 2, 2022
CONTACTS: Hal Weiss (213) 247-4585
Caregivers cite hospital’s failure to commit to solutions on workplace bullying, crisis-level turnover, and pandemic preparedness in ongoing contract negotiations.
Tarzana, CA–Nurses and Licensed Medical Professionals represented by the union SEIU 121RN at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center voted to authorize a strike on Thursday evening. The vote comes nearly a month after hundreds rallied in an informational picket outside of the hospital on November 4. The Caregivers say that many of the concerns they have raised with management at the bargaining table—and which they voiced publicly at their picket last month—still have not been resolved. As their contract negotiations entered their sixth month, Caregivers feel they may have no other option but to prepare for a strike.
The vote gives authority to the Caregivers’ contract bargaining team to move forward with a strike if they feel that negotiations still are not producing satisfactory results.
Bargaining team members say they were particularly disheartened by management’s inability to make progress on a proposal aimed at fixing what they see as a toxic workplace culture. Their proposal calls for the hospital to conduct a prompt, thorough, and fair investigation when a Caregiver reports harassment, abuse, discrimination, or retaliation.
Thus far, management has balked at the Caregivers proposal for improving the process, arguing that their Medical Staffing board has sole discretion on investigating and disciplining physicians. Bargaining team members say that structure allows physicians to investigate and discipline themselves and their peers.
Caroline Jacks, a Labor and Delivery Nurse and member of the bargaining team, said that the existing system perpetuates a culture in which offenders believe they can act with impunity.
“There is definitely a ‘good-old-boys’ club, at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana,” Jacks said. “They continue to protect their own, while [Caregivers] continue to be disrespected and abused. We demand Providence hold those who have abused us accountable,” said Jacks.
Through the negotiations process, Caregivers have tried to address other critical issues which face the hospital.
“Our bargaining team has issued realistic and common-sense proposals to solve an array of problems at the hospital,” said SEIU 121RN Executive Director Rosanna Mendez. “The hospital should commit to bargaining in good faith on these important issues. Seriously addressing issues like burnout, critical staffing levels, and future public health emergencies will benefit the entire hospital community.”
A strike could commence as early as ten-days after bargaining team members give the hospital notice—as required by law—raising the possibility of a strike during the holiday season. The bargaining team has not yet formally announced their intention to strike.
Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN represents more than 9,000 registered nurses and other healthcare professionals at 27 hospitals and facilities in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. This member-led organization is committed to supporting optimum working conditions that allow nurses to provide quality patient care and safety.