Cedars-Sinai employees accuse hospital of overpricing, unfair labor practices, excessive CEO pay

Employees at Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will rally May 1 to raise awareness of what they say is excessive CEO pay and unfair labor practices at the hospital, the union that represents them announced.

The workers, who are represented by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, also accuse Cedars-Sinai of suppressing workers’ voices and overcharging patients for some services. They are scheduled to start picketing the facility at 6:30 a.m. and rally at noon.

“Everyone knows about Cedars-Sinai’s record of treating celebrities and powerful people, but few may know how the hospital is treating the workers who care for those same patients every day,” Adolfo Morales, a clinical partner at Cedars-Sinai, said in a news release. “We want to have a voice in delivering quality care, but the hospital is threatening us for speaking out about understaffing or other patient care concerns. The public needs to know that Cedars-Sinai is letting down patients, workers and the community.”   

The rally comes amid contract negotiations between Cedars-Sinai and the union, which represents 1,800 employees at the hospital. These unionized employees — those in environmental services, food services, hospitality, materials management, clinical support, plant operations and telecommunications — account for 13 percent of Cedars-Sinai's workforce. Their last contract expired March 31.

Sally Stewart, a spokesperson for Cedars-Sinai, spoke positively of the hospital's proposals during negotiations.

"At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, we strive to maintain the highest standards of quality and service in the care we provide. Our employees are the key to this success, which is why our proposals in ongoing contract negotiations with SEIU-UHW allow our pay rates to continue leading the market and promote the development of those who do so much to contribute to the health and safety of our patients and the community," she wrote in an email to Becker's.

As negotiations continue, she said Cedars-Sinai supports the right of SEIU-UHW members to publicly address workplace concerns, including participation in the May 1 rally.

Ms. Stewart also addressed the union's claims, saying the hospital has not proposed any action against workers for expressing their views or for participating in union-sponsored activities. 

As far as other claims by the union, Cedars-Sinai has said CEO Tom Priselac's compensation "appropriately reflects his more than two-decade tenure of successfully presiding over the Western United States' largest nonprofit hospital."


More articles on human capital and risk:

Hospitals and unions: 10 recent conflicts, agreements
144 cancer research office workers in California vote to unionize
Union’s TV commercial in DC accuses Kaiser Permanente of delaying, denying mental healthcare


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