Union files unfair labor practice charges against Daughters of Charity Health System

SEIU-Healthcare Workers West, a hospital and healthcare union with more than 150,000 members, has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National labor Relations Board against Los Altos Hills, Calif.-based Daughters of Charity Health System and its CEO, Robert Issai.

Daughters of Charity and Mr. Issai are accused of "violating federal law that prohibits employers from using threats and intimidation to coerce employees," according to a news release. The alleged actions of the DCHS and Mr. Issai are related to the sale of DCHS to Ontario-Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services.

"Daughters has run a major campaign inside and outside all its hospitals, including television and radio ads, to bully workers into supporting the sale of DCHS to Prime Healthcare by threatening that the hospitals will close or go bankrupt and we will lose our jobs," Marc Quarles, an ultrasound technician at Saint Louise Medical Center in Gilroy, Calif., said in the release.

The complaints, filed by the union, allege Mr. Issai warned workers that DCHS could potentially close or file for bankruptcy if the Prime Healthcare acquisition does not go through. Additionally, DCHS workers claim that management routinely told them the hospitals will close and workers will lose their jobs if Prime Healthcare does not acquire the hospitals, according to a news release.

However, DCHS contends that bankruptcy is a possibility without the Prime Healthcare acquisition.  

DCHS released a statement concerning the recent charges filed with the NLRB saying, "Workers at Daughters of Charity hospitals are free to make up their own minds regarding the proposed sale of our hospitals to Prime Healthcare. But facts are facts – the threat of bankruptcy is real. As of today (Monday), DCHS has 14 days cash on hand and our hospitals are in danger of shutting down if the sale to Prime is denied."

Additionally, DCHS says not all of its workers are against the sale and the campaign against the transaction is being led by the union's president. "At last week's attorney general hearings on the sale, SEIU members themselves voluntarily submitted petitions signed by hundreds of union workers at DCHS hospitals supporting the sale and dismissing the tired rhetoric of SEIU-UHW president Dave Regan, who alone is leading the opposition. Mr. Regan's own members understand something he refuses to admit: Prime Healthcare is not only the best option, it is the only option to keeping the hospitals open, preserving pensions and maintaining jobs," DCHS said.

The charges mark the latest controversy over the sale of the six California hospitals: Seton Medical Center in Daly City; Seton Coastside in Moss Beach; O'Connor Hospital in San Jose; Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy; St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles; and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood.

More articles on workforce and labor issues:

Kaiser Permanente's 2,600 mental health workers begin strike

Healthcare employers are adding workers, increasing pay in 2015

Lawrence + Memorial Medical Group responds to NLRB complaint



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