“We give good care — every day! We're working short — every day! We need a contract — every day! We need protection — every day! We need a raise — every day!”
Expressing the frustration of the 700 patient care workers at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital that their dedication to patient care is not being rewarded by the hospital administration, that chant was one of many heard on the streets outside the hospital on Monday. Members of UE Local 1004, which represents 700 patient care workers, including patient care attendants, techs, and other support staff at the hospital, was holding a one-day unfair labor practice strike. The strike was called to encourage hospital management to end its illegal bargaining tactics and engage in good-faith negotiations to address high staff turnover.
“We are on strike today to stand up for our patients and our community and to speak out against management’s illegal intimidation tactics,” said Stacy Suarez, a 13-year surgical tech and member of the union negotiating committee. “We have the legal right to act together to let management know what workers need. Instead of listening and negotiating they have tried to silence our voices.”
“In 19 years as an ultrasound tech at Henry Mayo, I have never even called out sick”, said veteran employee Irma Ibarra. “Today I’m out here on the picket line because the hospital administration has refused to treat us fairly, forcing hundreds of dedicated employees to strike for the respect our community deserves.”
The hospital administration has prohibited its employees from wearing union insignia or discussing negotiations, which is a violation of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. It has threatened reprisals against employees for exercising their rights to concerted activity protected by the Act, and has interfered with the rights of members of the union bargaining committee to participate in negotiations.
Local 1004 members are also frustrated with the hospital administration’s refusal to meaningfully address low wages in contract bargaining.
Local 1004 member Gidget Williams, who has worked in the hospital’s float pool for over 20 years, explained that she joined the picket line because “I want my bosses to know that I enjoy working here, but I cannot live off the wages they pay here. And I think this could be a great hospital if the hospital decided to invest in its people who work here.”
“We have been busting our butts for the community for the last ten years, but hospital administrators just continue to show us how much we are not valued,” added Emergency Department Monitor Tech Ashley Clemons. “We’re losing so many seasoned, good people because of the pay, and when that happens it’s the patients that we care for that suffer in the long run.”
Local 1004 is currently in negotiations with Henry Mayo for a new collective bargaining agreement.
- The strike received coverage in The Signal and the Los Angeles Daily News
- See more strike photos on the UE Facebook page.
An earlier version of this article appeared yesterday under the title “UE Local 1004 Strikes Over Unfair Labor Practices.”