Dignity Health workers plan protest over alleged racist incidents


Dignity Health workers plan to protest July 23 over alleged racist incidents involving management at Sacramento, Calif.-based Mercy General Hospital, reports the Sacramento Business Journal.

Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West, a union of more than 97,000 healthcare workers, said Mercy General employees and workers from at least 12 different Dignity Health-affiliated clinics and hospitals are slated to "expose a culture in the facility that permits racist behavior and leaves workers feeling harassed and discriminated against," according to the publication.

Alleged racist incidents cited by the union in the Journal include racist jokes, management failing to act after reported incidents, and a white employee using the term "monkey" to describe a Black employee. The union also alleges workers were not allowed to wear masks with the words "Black Lives Matter" on them due to a rule about logos on clothing.

Dignity Health spokesperson William Hodges provided a statement to Becker's, saying the organization "takes this matter very seriously" and is "conducting a thorough investigation." 

"We have strict anti-discrimination policies and do not tolerate or condone discrimination of any kind," Mr. Hodges said in the emailed statement. "Diversity among our organization is our strength and we believe in the inherent dignity of all people, which we demonstrate in the care we deliver to our patients and how we treat our employees. Our mission and values call us to act in response to racism in our country and our healthcare system. We believe we have a responsibility as an organization to be a leader in advancing change. That includes creating a diverse and inclusive workplace for every employee.

"We will meet this moment decisively. Significant work in support of diversity and inclusion in our organization has been underway, but we will accelerate and expand this work immediately to include diversity training for leaders, facilitation of open forum discussions, and more frequent communications from senior leaders."

Workers from the Dignity Health Medical Foundation, Mercy Healthcare Sacramento, Mercy Hospital of Folsom (Calif.), Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael, Calif., Methodist Hospital of Sacramento and Woodland Clinic Medical Group are also expected to participate in the protest. 


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