“The union’s accusations of patients not receiving meals, dangerous working conditions and lack of investment in our employees, are completely false.” – John Muir Health PIO Ben Drew
Healthcare workers are gathered at John Muir Health, Concord Medical Center today, Wednesday, March 15, beginning at 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., to protest unsafe staffing levels and their employer’s lack of investment in their workforce. Members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West are wearing their uniforms picketing, carrying signs and speaking about what they claim is the hospital’s failure to invest in its patients and caregivers.
According to a press release from the union, “John Muir Health, Concord Medical Center employees say conditions are dangerous for caregivers and patients as management ignores concerns about understaffing and working conditions. Workers are worried about patient and staff safety and say they’ve been pushed to the limit by their employer. They are calling on their employer to listen to and work with healthcare workers to address the staffing crisis through ongoing contract negotiations.”
“We care a lot for our patients, but management isn’t giving us the support we need. Staffing shortages are hitting all departments at our hospital,” said Brian Mynatt, a dietetic technician at John Muir Health, Concord Medical Center. “One of the best ways a patient can recover from an illness is through food and nutrition. But, when we don’t have the staff to get patients the meals they need, it puts their health at risk.”
However, spokesman for the healthcare provider, Ben Drew refutes the claims. In a response statement issued, yesterday he wrote, “The union’s accusations of patients not receiving meals, dangerous working conditions and lack of investment in our employees, are completely false.”
Located at 2540 East Street, John Muir Health, Concord Medical Center’s refusal to invest in its workforce comes in the midst of a healthcare staffing crisis across the state. California faces a massive shortage of allied healthcare workers — job classes that include medical assistants, respiratory therapists, emergency room workers, licensed vocational nurses, lab assistants, housekeepers, and many other frontline staff.
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.
John Muir Health issues statement responding to SEIU-UHW informational picketing at Concord Medical Center
John Muir Health issued the following response to the protest: “SEIU-UHW and John Muir Health just began bargaining for a successor contract for the Concord Medical Center. The current agreement expires in mid-April and we’ve held one bargaining session to date.
The union’s accusations of patients not receiving meals, dangerous working conditions and lack of investment in our employees, are completely false. Notably, not a word was said at yesterday’s bargaining session about patients not receiving meals. At all times, the health and safety of our patients, staff and providers is our top priority.
Like all health systems, JMH has been facing staffing challenges. We have worked hard to address those challenges by hiring 1,125 new employees in 2022, and that hiring process continues.
We have a long history of constructive relationships with the unions that currently represent employees at our Concord Medical Center, including SEIU-UHW. We hope to continue this practice going forward and reach a fair agreement on a new contract. We will continue to bargain in good faith.”
Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.
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