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Fourth healthcare facility in San Diego area to unionize in 2023

East County News Service

February 7, 2023 (La Mesa) -- Healthcare workers at Sharp Grossmont Hospital have voted to join SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), a union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers across California. The election took place February 1-3 and covers 1,500 frontline workers at the facility, making it among the largest number of workers at a California hospital to go union in a decade.

“This is a huge win for our patients and this community,” said Haba Serrano, who works in the hospital’s Emergency Department. “Workers here shouldn’t be struggling to provide housing and other basic necessities for our loved ones. Now that we’re union, we’ll have a strong voice to ensure safe staffing levels, the best possible care for our patients, and good jobs at Sharp Grossmont so we can recruit and hold onto top-tier staff.”

The victory was decisive: 55 percent of the workers voting supported joining SEIU-UHW. The vote applies to a variety of job classes, including Licensed Vocational Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Respiratory Care Practitioners, Pharmacy Technicians, Imaging Assistants, Certified Phlebotomy Technicians, Healthcare Partners, Surgical Technologists, Unit Clerks, and numerous other frontline healthcare workers. According to SEIU, healthcare workers at Grossmont have risked their lives to serve the community throughout the pandemic despite staffing shortages, safety concerns and wages below market for the region.

Sharp has asked the National Labor Relations Board to investigation allegations of employees harassed by the union prior to the vote, Times of San Diego reports. In a statement, Sharp said, ““Numerous hospital employees voluntarily reported to management that union organizers have engaged in intimidating and threatening behaviors at employees’ homes and elsewhere related to the union’s effort to organize.”

This is the fourth group of healthcare workers in the San Diego area to unite in SEIU-UHW recently. Workers at three Fresenius dialysis clinics in the region voted to join the union last month.

Sharp Healthcare made a net income of over $1.17 billion from 2020 to 2021, according to Sharp’s financial disclosures. Sharp has received $256 million in federal, taxpayer-funded COVID-19 funds, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The company CEO was paid $1.68 million in 2020.

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