Long Beach Healthcare Workers to March Against Wage-Freeze Proposal as Threat to Quality Patient Care

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Image courtesy of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West

Nearly 100 local healthcare workers will protest Dignity Health’s proposal to freeze workers’ wages and cut their benefits at 12:15PM on Thursday at St. Mary Medical Center, according to SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West’s announcement released this week.

The protest will be one of 27 similar events to take place across California through Thursday, August 18.

“We call on Dignity Health and the leadership of St. Mary Medical Center to show the same level of commitment to patients as the healthcare professionals who care for them,” stated Elizabeth Ochoa, an environmental services aide at St. Mary Medical Center. “These days, Dignity and our hospital seem more interested in boosting profits and CEO pay than doing what’s best for patients.”

Dignity Health’s proposal could undermine the facility by making it more difficult to attract and retain qualified employees, according to the release. Dignity Health has also proposed to cut retirement benefits for long-term employees by up to 25 percent, while workers are blaming management for “wanting to outsource jobs to low-wage companies, and excessive compensation given to hospital executives,” stated the announcement.

The release stated that at least 19 Dignity executives were paid more than $1 million in 2014, for a combined total of $42 million, and compared Dignity Health’s proposed wage freeze to nonprofits Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health and Verity Health, which recently gave three percent raises to their workers.

Dignity Health operates hospitals in California, Arizona and Nevada. More than 15,000 Dignity employees are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, including 530 at St. Mary Medical Center.

St. Mary Medical Center is located at 1050 Linden Avenue.

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