About 100 employees of Providence Tarzana Medical Center turned out for a picket yesterday to protest what they described as unfair labor practices.
The picketers were members and supporters of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents 14,000 health care workers in California. The union is in the process of negotiating a contract with the hospital, which includes service, technical, maintenance and skilled maintenance employees, according to Providence Tarzana.
“While the hospital respects its employees’ right to join unions and to participate in union activities, we are disappointed the union has chosen to focus on an informational picket, rather than on the bargaining table,” Providence Tarzana said in a statement.
Among the workers’ grievances were what they called low annual raises – the medical center is proposing a 1.5 percent yearly pay increase – and an increase in “flex” scheduling, which they claim results in workers being called off their schedules without pay.
Providence Tarzana responded that it is following standard industry practices, and that patient volumes always determine the staff required for a given time period.
Nursing assistant Dwayne Riley lamented the hospital’s low raises, which she and other workers claim do not keep up with the cost of living.
“You can’t expect to retain high-quality workers with such tiny raises,” said Riley. “Our community deserves a hospital staffed by dedicated workers who don’t have to take second jobs just to pay their rent and fill up their gas tanks.”