Health Care Workers At Cedars-Sinai Are On Strike
Members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West have gone on strike at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, citing what it calls "unfair labor practices, employee and patient safety concerns and low wages."
The union represents about 2,000 employees at the hospital including certified nursing assistants, surgical technicians and transporters. Workers plan to strike for a week.
Environmental services technician Willie Gladney said he and his colleagues deserve a living wage.
"I have coworkers who have been working here 16 years — they don't make $20 an hour," he said. "One lady told me her son makes more than she does. He works at Target. He's 19 years old."
Negotiations for a new contract began in March. The union accuses management of negotiating in bad faith.
Cedars-Sinai CEO Thomas Priselac posted an online letter to the hospital's patients and employees that said, in part: "The leadership of SEIU-UHW threatened to strike even before we sat down to exchange full proposals in early March. During lengthy bargaining sessions, it became clear to us that union leaders never intended to reach agreement with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on a new contract without a strike."
A Cedars spokesperson insisted the union has been offered a "strong" deal that included "substantial pay increases." She said "the hospital is prepared to maintain patient safety."
Doctors, nurses and researchers are not part of the union and we're told they will remain on the job.