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SEIU: Healthcare Workers Vote to Strike Across LifeLong Medical Care Clinics Over Silencing Workers, Bargaining in Bad Faith
News provided bySEIU-United Healthcare Workers West
May 26, 2023, 2:49 PM ET
Vote margin was 99 percent in favor of a strike
OAKLAND, Calif., May 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthcare workers at LifeLong Medical Clinics have overwhelmingly voted to go on strike over management's attempts to silence them for trying to solve staffing and patient care problems, and to demand management bargain in good faith for solutions.
Beginning June 5, workers will launch a two-day strike across seventeen LifeLong Clinics in the Bay Area, with picket lines at LifeLong Trust Health Center in Oakland, Ashby Health Center in Berkeley, and Brookside San Pablo Health Center in San Pablo.
Caregivers are demanding that their employer stop the threats and intimidation, and bargain in good faith to solve the severe patient care crisis across the clinic caused by short-staffing, high turnover, low wages, and worker safety concerns. They fear management's refusal to address critical issues is jeopardizing the quality of care provided throughout LifeLong's network of clinics.
"We are ready to strike because management refuses to listen to healthcare workers and is not bargaining with us in good faith," said Mable Bermudez-Chun, a community health worker at LifeLong Brookside Clinic. "Patient care suffers as workers are stretched thin and others keep leaving. LifeLong management needs to stop trying to silence us when we stand up for wages that keep up with the cost of living, safe staffing and better working conditions."
LifeLong Medical Care is a safety net provider for more than 61,000 underserved and vulnerable individuals, many with complex health conditions, every year. Yet, these vulnerable patients are put at even more risk because healthcare workers at their facilities are understaffed and underpaid, leading to high worker turnover.
Workers at Lifelong Medical Care are concerned about worker safety and threats to the quality of patient care due to understaffing. They are calling on their employer to listen to and work with caregivers to address the staffing crisis through ongoing contract negotiations.
"It's upsetting to have to tell patients we can't help them," said Millie Callen, a patient care coordinator in the Urgent Care at LifeLong Brookside Clinic. "But our clinics are so short-staffed that even in the urgent care where I work, I often have to send people to the emergency department because I can't get them in for their tests or follow-ups. It's heartbreaking because we got into this work to help people. But management is trying to silence us instead of working with us to solve the problems."
In response to workers' attempts to improve conditions, management has been threatening and intimidating caregivers, and violating labor law by stopping them from speaking up.
The vote margin was 99 percent in favor of the strike. The strike vote applies to more than 500 healthcare workers in a variety of job classes, including registered nurses, medical assistants, social workers, dental assistants, community health workers, street medicine workers, patient care representatives, and others.
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.
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SOURCE SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West
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