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Healthcare Workers to St. Joseph Health System: Fair Election Agreement Now
Date:10/27/2007

Workers Seeking Ground Rules for Union Election Say Hospital System Fails

to Live Up to its Values

ORANGE, Calif., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of faith leaders, elected officials and other community members joined healthcare workers from the St. Joseph Health System in a march and procession outside the system's headquarters on Saturday, where they called for hospital leadership to agree to a fair 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 will be able to win a voice on the job and advocate for better patient care.

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.

"With a union, we'll have the ability to help shape patient-care decisions at these hospitals, which are so important to the health of Orange County," said Drina Robledo, a licensed vocational nurse at the system's Chapman Clinic. "For too long, the input of caregivers like me has been minimized by the St. Joseph Health System. Orange County deserves a healthcare system that respects workers and takes advantage of the experience and knowledge that we bring to the table."

The event brought together workers and healthcare advocates from across California to deliver the message of fairness and justice to the leadership of St. Joseph, which operates three hospitals in Orange County (Mission, St. Joseph and St. Jude) as well as five in Northern California. 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 Assemblyman Jose Solorio, actor and activist Ed Begley, Jr., and the Rev. Wilfredo Benitez of Saint Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal Church.

"I'm proud to stand by our hospital workers," Solorio said. "They are the ones who are on the front lines of health care in our community, and it's only fitting that they have the ability to have a more formal role in improving patient care. I urge the leadership of the St. Joseph Health System to agree to a free and fair election agreement with these workers."

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
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