100+ Caregivers At Watsonville Community Hospital Will Walk A Picket Line To Protest Watsonville Community Hospital's Efforts To Negotiate "Poor" Terms That Will Place Its Workers Even Further Below The Standards Of Other Northern California Hospitals

WATSONVILLE, Calif., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ --

When: Thursday, August 19, 2004 Picket line, 11 a.m. -- 1 p.m. Rally, 12 Noon Where: Wastonville Community Hospital 75 Nielson Street Watsonville, CA 95076

While other hospitals including Kaiser and Catholic Healthcare West have negotiated fair and equitable contracts with their workers, the management at Watsonville Community Hospital (WCH), which is owned by Community Health Systems) is choosing to squeeze out huge profits by not agreeing to terms that would improve patient care and bring WCH caregivers up to the standards of other Northern California hospitals.

To protest management's actions, WCH caregivers, supported by grocery store workers from the United Food & Commercial Workers Unions, Registered Nurses from the California Nurses Association, Local 250 members from Dominican Hospital, leaders from the United Farm Workers Union, members of the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council and several other community organizations, will walk in solidarity in a picket line beginning at 11:00 a.m. A rally will also be held at 12 Noon and will include various speakers.

The caregivers made the decision for the 2-hour strike and rally to send a clear message to WCH management that they will not fall victim to the unfair tactics that management is using to try to get them to work for standards that are far below those of their contemporaries in other Northern California hospitals.

Although WCH is making profits, they claim that their investors want even MORE profits, citing that they are demanding a larger return on their investment. It has also been uncovered that WCH has an unrestricted funds account that has millions upon millions of dollars, yet they continue to provide lower wages and benefits than nearby hospitals.

Workers at WCH are seeking a contract that provides workers with a training and upgrade fund, improved wages, and an improved retiree pension and health care plan. To date, WCH has rejected all such proposals.

"I've worked as an OR Tech for decades, and I love caring for my patients. However, WCH makes it difficult for me and my co-workers to make a decent living and to have a retirement pension that we can count on because WCH is at the bottom of the barrel when compared to other local hospitals. They're putting profits before patients, and it's just not right. If other hospital corporations can do the right thing, so can WCH," stated Butch Cole, OR Tech at WCH.

With over 95,000 members, SEIU 250 is the largest and fastest growing health care union in the Western U.S. We represent every type of health care worker, including nursing, professional, technical, paramedic and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high quality health care for all.

Contact: Kay Carney of SEIU 250, +1-510-773-7229.

SEIU 250

CONTACT: Kay Carney of SEIU 250, +1-510-773-7229

Back to news