Healthcare workers picketed at a Placentia hospital on Tuesday. They say they are protesting low wages and severe understaffing.
Workers at the Placentia-Linda Hospital in Orange County say they’re fed up with continual understaffing and outsourcing of care while receiving an unlivable salary.
Employees and supporters were seen standing outside of the hospital while holding signs saying “Heroes need raises,” and “Don’t outsource health care heroes.”
The health care workers are represented by the SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West union. In a union recent survey, 100 percent of respondents said their department is either moderately or severely understaffed.
Staff say they’re constantly losing experienced workers because the pay is so low.
Officials say management proposed a one percent pay raise for the next three years for nearly 170 employees who are currently in contract negotiations.
“Even though other hospitals are offering more because of inflation, Tenet hasn’t offered more than one percent,” said Jenny Sosa, a pharmacy technician at Placentia Linda Hospital. “So everyone’s leaving and all we have is inexperienced staff that is willing to come in and get the experience. We train them, they’re great and then they leave us.”
Union members say the proposed raise does not adequately offset the high cost of living for workers in the Orange County area.
“Considering inflation and the rising cost of living, Tenet Healthcare’s wage offer means a real economic loss for experienced caregivers who are being displaced from their communities and careers,” says SEIU-UHW. “Together with patients and allies, they are demanding hospitals invest their profits back into patient care where it belongs.”
The hospital reported an annual revenue of over $19 billion in 2021, according to the union.
“We don’t do this to get rich, we do it because we care about people,” said Sosa. “We can’t do that when we don’t have the staff we need, and that’s unacceptable. To be offered one percent hurts, because it means we’re struggling to retain the people we need to provide the best care possible. After risking our lives through a pandemic, we now must fight for staffing and living wages. We’re exhausted and need support!”
A statement from the Placentia-Linda Hospital reads:
“Placentia-Linda Hospital values our employees who are represented by SEIU-UHW. We are negotiating in good faith with the union to reach an agreement for our hospital-based service, maintenance, and technical employees. The Hospital is disappointed that the union is holding a picketing event rather than prioritizing a good faith negotiation.”