SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Management representatives from California Pacific Medical Center walked out of a San Francisco Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee hearing yesterday. Board President Aaron Peskin called the hearing to identify possible solutions to the six-week-old CPMC strike and assess reports of deteriorating patient care inside the hospital. Nearly 800 CPMC caregivers were forced to strike on September 13 for a Federal Mediator's compromise proposal for settlement that CPMC initially accepted, then rejected.
"CPMC walked out on the Board of Directors just like they walked out on us at the bargaining table," said SEIU-UHW Administrative Vice-President, John Borsos. "Their actions speak louder than words and indicate their unwillingness to bargain in good faith for a contract that puts patients first."
Representatives from CPMC management left en masse after a brief testimony from Cynthia Chiarappa, CPMC Director of Communications. Chiarappa did not respond to documentation that demonstrated the hospital's development, and acceptance of, a Federal Mediator's compromise proposal for settlement with SEIU-UHW. The Mediator's recommendation features proposals that directly impact patient care, such as safe staffing guidelines and a training fund for employees. Unfortunately, CPMC management now refutes the direct correlation between the Mediator's recommendation for well-staffed hospital floors, adequately trained caregivers, and improved patient care.
"I have read the exact language of the Federal Mediator's proposal," Board President, Aaron Peskin told Chiarappa. "And I am having a difficult time buying the official line that you and (CPMC CEO Martin Brotman) are putting forth."
Dozens of patients and CPMC medical professionals have reported deteriorating sanitary conditions and patient care since the strike began. On October 24, San Francisco Police reported that three hospital workers were caught stealing drugs from a narcotics cabinet. Yesterday, several Registered Nurses working at CPMC testified about compromised patient services inside the hospital. "The replacement workers are not cleaning well, and they are not trained adequately. They don't meet the necessary standards and its hurting our patients," said Dianne Weyna, Registered Nurse at CPMC's Labor and Delivery unit.
"It is apparent to RNs that there has been inadequate screening, orientation and competency validation of the replacement staff," said Vicki Bermudez, Regulatory Policy Specialist for the California Nurses Association. "Unsanitary conditions exist in the patient care areas of the hospital. Staff find blood residue in the labor and delivery surgery area and in the patient rooms after they have been cleaned by replacement workers. Inadequate terminal cleaning of rooms between patients exposes patients and infants to blood born pathogens like Hepatitis B and poor infection control."
CPMC RN Elizabeth Galvin-Little reported that a recent C-section that was delayed for over an hour because replacement workers had not adequately cleaned the hospital room. "The rooms are not sanitary, because they are not being cleaned well by the replacement workers," said Galvin-Litte. "We are finding dried blood, suture material, and tissue from previous patients lying around rooms that were said to be cleaned. Its dangerous."
Prior to walking out of the hearing, Chiarappa lied to the Board of Supervisors when she stated that the hospital had contacted SEIU-UHW on Sunday, October 16 to schedule new bargaining dates. SEIU-UHW never received a call from CPMC to return to the bargaining table, said John Borsos, but striking caregivers would welcome any offer by the hospital to renew negotiations. Chiarappa, who has never been involved in contract negotiations, was unable to produce any evidence of the hospital's alleged call for renewed bargaining.
"If you had actually invited SEIU back to the bargaining table, you would have a written document," said Supervisor Chris Daly. "Do not come in here and play games with the Board of Supervisors."
Peskin call for a resumed hearing at the next Government Oversight and Audit Committee hearing next Wednesday, October 24 at 1pm.
For more information on the strike at California Pacific Medical Center, please visit: www.sutterstrikersforpatientcare.com
SEIU United Healthcare Workers - West, with more than 140,000 members, is the largest healthcare union in the Western United States. We represent every type of healthcare worker, including nursing, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve quality healthcare for all.
SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West