Workers picket at 11 Tenet hospitals in California

Workers have held informational picketing events this week outside 11 Tenet Healthcare hospitals in California to demand increased workplace protections amid the pandemic, according to the union representing them.  

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents service, maintenance and certain technical and professional employees at Tenet hospitals, said the workers seek more personal protective equipment, more staffing and other improvements to health and safety conditions in their facilities.

"I'm scared to come to work knowing I could be exposed to COVID-19," Gisella Thomas, a respiratory therapist at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, said in a news release. "Our health, our patients' health, our families' the health and health of our communities are all impacted when healthcare workers are exposed to COVID at work."

Picketing has already taken place at:

  • High Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree
  • Doctors Hospital of Manteca
  • Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock
  • Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs
  • San Ramon Regional Medical Center
  • Los Alamitos Medical Center 
  • Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo

On Aug. 28, picketing events are planned at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio, Lakewood Regional Medical Center, Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, and Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton.

The picketing comes as Tenet and the union have been in negotiations since May, according to The Tribune.

In response to the picketing, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare said its staff's focus continues to be on providing quality patient care. It expressed disappointment about the picketing.  

"While we value all of our employees who are represented by the SEIU-UHW, we are disappointed that the union is taking this approach," Tenet said in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review. "We have only been bargaining with the union on a successor contract since May and will continue to negotiate in good faith in hopes of reaching a successful resolution.

"We are proud of the professionalism and dedication demonstrated by our caregivers and staff during this unprecedented pandemic.”


More articles on human resources:
45-case coronavirus outbreak at Washington state hospital sparks worker demands
Healthcare workers to rally for PPE stockpile legislation
HCA nurses battle over unionization in North Carolina

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