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Healthcare Workers, Community Activists Call for Fair Election Agreement at St. Joseph Health System
Date:11/3/2007

Workers Seek Ground Rules for Union Election, Note Hospital System Failing

to Live Up to its Own Values

SANTA ROSA, Calif., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of community leaders, elected officials and other healthcare activists joined hospital workers from the St. Joseph Health System in a march and rally outside Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital on Saturday, where they called for the health system's leadership to reach a fair union election agreement with workers.

For months, workers throughout the statewide hospital chain have been organizing with the goal of forming a union with SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West. By forming a union, caregivers have a voice on the job to better advocate for themselves and their patients.

Unfortunately, caregivers have been met with an aggressive anti-union campaign that includes mandatory, anti-union meetings during work time and spending scarce patient-care dollars fighting their own employees. The management campaign has also included illegal threats, surveillance and discrimination of pro-union workers.

"All we're after is the ability to stand up and speak out to improve patient care at these hospitals," said Rosa Santos, an OR tech at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. "With a union, we'll have that voice. But St. Joseph management has done so much to deprive us of our rights that we need fair ground rules before we can have a union election."

The event brought together hundreds of workers and healthcare advocates from across California to deliver the message of fairness and justice to the leadership of St. Joseph, which operates two North Bay hospitals (Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley) and seven more across the state. Workers believe the hospital chain's anti-union activities go against its stated core values of Justice, Dignity, Excellence and Service.

Among those attending to support the workers were Santa Rosa City Council member Susan Gorin; Nancy Dobbs of the Palm Drive Hospital board of directors; Father Ramon Pons, associate pastor at St. Rose Church in Santa Rosa; and JoAnn Consiglieri, a former Sister of St. Joseph of Orange, the Catholic order of women religious that sponsors the health system.

"I urge the St. Joseph Health System to agree to fair ground rules for a union election," Gorin said. The voice of hospital workers should be respected in light of the challenges faced by the local healthcare system.

More information about the workers' organizing drive can be found online at http://www.JusticeAtStJHS.org.

The 150,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

CONTACT: Mason Stockstill

(510) 206-8247


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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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