Health Care Workers


It’s Union vs. Union in Proposed Hospital Sale

O'Connor Hospital in San Jose is one of the six hospitals operated by Daughters of Charity that is being sold. (Courtesy: O'Connor Hospital)

O’Connor Hospital in San Jose is one of the six hospitals operated by Daughters of Charity that is being sold. (Courtesy: O’Connor Hospital)

By April Dembosky

Unions are sparring every day this week over the fate of six safety-net hospitals in California, showcasing how splintered the health care labor movement has become.

At issue is the same of the financially-distressed hospitals currently owned by the nonprofit Daughters of Charity. The leading buyer is for-profit Prime Healthcare.

The state attorney general’s office is hearing testimony at each of the six hospitals this week before it approved or denies the sale. Because the hospitals are owned by a non-profit, the state is tasked with making sure the sale to a for-profit company benefits the public interest.

Unions are divided over whether Prime is the right candidate for the job. Continue reading

Resident Physicians at Children’s Oakland Rally Over Contract Stalemate

Medical workers stage a protest in front of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland. (Mark Andrew Boyer/KQED)

Medical residents stage a protest in front of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. (Mark Andrew Boyer/KQED)

Resident physicians at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland say their salaries aren’t keeping up with the cost of living in the Bay Area. Theirs is one of the latest health care union battles to heat up in California between workers and hospital administration, and is drawing a new generation of members to union organizing.

“A lot of people think being a doctor is super glamorous and you make tons of money and everyone loves you,” said Alana Arnold, a second-year resident. “But in fact, residency is difficult. We’re here to learn and train. And we have to protect ourselves just like any other workforce.”

She and other pediatric medicine residents in Oakland have joined with SEIU’s Committee of Interns and Residents to fight for higher compensation, and a special fund for patients to cover bus tokens and other costs to help them get to appointments and maintain care.  Continue reading

New Health Care Jobs: How Healthy?

(US Navy: Flickr)

Hospital team moves patient from one bed to another. (U.S. Navy: Flickr)

California stands to reap tens of thousands of jobs because of the federal health care overhaul — according to a new report [PDF] by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI).

Researchers compared the state’s 2010 workforce to what it might have been if the Affordable Care Act had been fully implemented in that year. They concluded that once the ACA is fully in place in 2014 almost 99,000 new jobs will be created as a result of the law, most of them in Southern California. The Sacramento Valley will see the largest increase rate: a 1.3 percent boost in job opportunities.

But ironically, health care jobs are not always healthy for the worker. Odd hours, ergonomics, and environmental factors contribute to specific risks for hospital and clinic workers.

By its nature health care is a 24-hour enterprise. Dr. Catherine Lau works nights almost exclusively as director of Nighttime Hospitalist Service at the UC San Francisco Medical Center. In an interview Lau said that while she appreciates the quiet, it can be “a little disorienting” to work at night in a windowless space. Shift-working nurses show higher rates of breast cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Continue reading