Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Workers to Protest "Questionable Financial Relationship" Between Hospital and Bank President

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital employees are planning to protest outside Rabobank headquarters in response to what they call a "questionable financial relationship" between the hospital, the prominent local bank and the bank's president, according to a Monterey Herald report.

Harry Wardwell, president of Rabobank, serves as treasurer on the Salinas Valley Memorial board. Union officials say Mr. Wardwell has a conflict of interest in his role on the board because the hospital keeps millions of dollars in Rabobank and hosts Rabobank-affiliated ATMs on campus.

Union officials have also criticized hospital board members for giving excessive salary and benefits packages to hospital executives while approving employee pay cuts and layoffs. According to a union spokesman, Mr. Wardwell played a role in increasing the compensation of CEO Sam Downing to $791,000, making him one of the highest-paid employees in the state.

Mr. Wardwell responded by saying the protest is little more than a way to get attention for the union. He said the hospital's relationship with Robobank started before his appointment to the board, and Salinas Valley only places 30 percent of its holdings with the bank.

The protest will be led by the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Read the Monterey Herald report on Rabobank and Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.

Read more on hospital protests:

-10 Recent Nursing Strikes, Lawsuits and Unionizations at U.S. Hospitals

-Physicians, Others Protest North Carolina Hospitals' Recommendation to Merge With For-Profit Operator

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