Providence workers to picket over payroll issues

Members of the Staff Nurses Association, National Union Health Care Workers and Petaluma Staff Nurses Partnership said they plan to hold an informational picket Aug. 24 at Providence Santa Rosa (Calif.) Memorial Hospital regarding issues they have experienced with paychecks.

At issue for the unions, which represent workers at Providence facilities, including Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma (Calif.) Valley Hospital, is Renton, Wash.-based Providence health system's switch this summer to a Genesis payroll system. 

In July, Providence implemented the new system, and since then, the majority of caregiver paychecks have been issued and are correct. However, a small percentage of workers have experienced paycheck errors, including no payment, or incorrect or partial payment, the health system said in a statement shared with Becker's

"Providing accurate and timely pay is one of the most fundamental roles that Providence plays as an employer, and we take any discrepancies in paychecks or missed pay incredibly seriously," Providence said. "Our caregivers work selflessly to provide the care that our communities depend on, and we are deeply sorry that we have missed the mark for some individuals or that we created any kind of hardship or anxiety for caregivers and their families."

The health system also said it has resolved many of the identified high-priority issues. "To ensure our caregivers are kept whole during this unfortunate disruption, we are running off-cycle paycheck batches daily, with the correct retroactive pay. We have also established a dedicated team to focus on expedited resolution of remaining paycheck issues in Northern California."

But union members contend that nurses continue to see significant wage decreases in their paychecks and are unable to read and understand their pay stubs. 

"Local administration has not demonstrated that they have the ability to explain or help staff with understanding the pay errors or the ability to help in deciphering pay stubs or fixing the root problems," the Staff Nurses Association, which represents nurses at Santa Rosa Memorial, said in a news release shared with Becker's

The union added: "We want solutions, not excuses. Patients deserve nurses who have been paid what they are owed and are supported by their employer."

The Staff Nurses Association also said it has filed a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner over the issues. In Oregon, members of the Oregon Nurses Association have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging wage theft by Providence.

"The Providence mission calls us to care for all. This includes our caregivers," Providence said. "We are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to resolve the remaining outstanding issues as quickly as possible. We also remain profoundly grateful to our caregivers for their patience and for all they do to serve patients in need."

The informational picket scheduled for Aug. 24 is not a strike but a way for unions to raise awareness about their concerns. 

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