Los Angeles

Cedars-Sinai employees to picket over COVID-19 safety violations – Daily News

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center staff plan to picket the Los Angeles facility Wednesday, April 20 to protest workplace violations they are saying have put them in danger amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

State well being and safety regulators fined Cedars $97,700 final year for seven citations that have been in violation of Cal/OSHA laws geared toward defending workplace safety.

Four of the citations have been categorized as “serious” well being and safety violations associated to COVID-19 prevention.

The greater than 2,000 staff at Cedars, represented by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, voted overwhelmingly final week to authorize an unfair labor follow strike in May, though an official notification has but to be despatched to hospital administration.

Employees declare they’re understaffed, underpaid and coping with insufficient pandemic protections. Their earlier contract expired March 31.

Cedars didn’t deal with the OSHA violations. But in a press release issued Tuesday, the hospital stated it supplied free lodging to employees throughout the pandemic to assist make sure the safety of their households, in addition to reimbursement and diminished charges for backup childcare and grownup/elder care.

The hospital stated it additionally supplied pay safety for staff whose hours have been affected by the pandemic.

Cedars stated picketing and different union-related actions distract from the work that wants to be accomplished on the bargaining desk.

“On the first day of bargaining, March 21, Cedars-Sinai presented the union with a strong economic proposal, which would have provided pay increases to bargaining unit employees as early as March 27,” the assertion stated. “Unfortunately, the union rejected our offer — without asking its 2,000 members, who account for 13% of Cedars-Sinai’s workforce.”

Jose Sanchez, a lead transporter and chief union steward at Cedars, stated the hospital’s most up-to-date labor proposal features a elevate of $1 to $1.50 an hour. The present minimal wage for staff at Cedars is somewhat over $17 an hour.

“Target and some of the fast-food places pay a lot more than that,” the 42-year-old Huntington Park resident stated. “We believe employees should start at $25 an hour.”

Willie Gladney, a housekeeping employee and union steward at Cedars, stated the lax COVID-19 protocols have been all too actual.

“They have repeatedly been negligent in not posting signs for COVID-positive patients,” the 48-year-old Los Angeles resident stated. “There have also been times when they said we didn’t have to wear N95 masks. They said surgical masks were enough, but we know that’s not true.”

The severe OSHA violations embrace:

— A failure to instantly report the intense sickness of a number of staff who contracted COVID-19, together with one who was hospitalized and three others who later died

— A failure to keep an satisfactory exposure-control plan to defend employees who’re at elevated danger of contracting sure airborne infections due to their work actions

— A failure to present the required coaching to auxiliary workers with occupational publicity to COVID-19

— A failure to use possible engineering and work-practice controls to decrease the publicity of auxiliary workers, nurses and authorized nursing assistants within the hospital’s fourth-floor breakroom

SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan stated the violations have put employees and sufferers in danger.

“Our union will continue to fight for safe working conditions for hospital workers who have continuously put their lives on the line during this pandemic,” he stated.

Sanchez stated the low beginning wage, mixed with the dangers staff encounter in coping with COVID-19 sufferers, causes many potential hires to flip down work on the hospital, Sanchez stated.

“We have hundreds of patients to transport a day, and if we’re short-staffed it creates delays getting them to their procedures and delays getting them discharged and admitted,” he stated. “We’re rushed, stressed out and stretched thin.”

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