Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana workers allege 'culture of harassment'

Members of Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN are alleging a "culture of harassment" at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana (Calif.) Medical Center.

The union represents more than 9,000 registered nurses and other healthcare professionals at nearly 30 hospitals and facilities in Los Angeles and surrounding counties, according to a Nov. 2 SEIU news release shared with Becker's. Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana is jointly owned and operated by Providence, which has system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif., and Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai.  

Union members began negotiating their union contract in June and plan to hold an informational picket Nov. 4 in front of the medical center, according to the SEIU news release. They contend that during negotiations, hospital management has failed to adequately address their concerns.

"The issues caregivers have raised have significant implications for the safety of their patients, the proper staffing of the hospital, and the hospital's preparedness for future pandemics," the union said. "Additionally, they have called out a pervasive toxic workplace environment, wherein hospital staff is regularly subjected to bullying and even sexual harassment by some medical staff. Caregivers say Providence has balked at taking significant action to curb this toxic culture, and that the hospital has thus far failed to ensure a workplace free from harassment and retaliation."

Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana emphasized its commitment to workers and the bargaining process.

"The safety of our patients, visitors and staff is a top priority and we continuously encourage our caregivers to report any concerns, which are promptly addressed," the hospital said in a statement shared with Becker's. "We also have a regional security and safety team that specializes in disaster preparedness. We've learned much in the pandemic and were grateful for the support of the Providence system in meeting unprecedented needs."

Regarding the harassment allegations, the medical center said it "does not tolerate harassment of any kind and has proposed contract language emphasizing our commitment to a workplace free of harassment, and ensuring all caregivers, physicians and others in the hospital comply with this zero-tolerance policy."   

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