SEIU 1021

Alameda Health System workers picket outside Highland Hospital to demand safe staffing and an end to “heartbreaking” mismanagement
“The situation across Alameda Health System is breaking my heart right now.”


On Wednesday, February 14, hundreds of Alameda Health System workers picketed outside Oakland’s Highland Hospital to protest the chronic understaffing problem that’s leading to unsafe working conditions and compromised patient care. The spirited rally included workers from emergency room nurses to environmental health workers and featured a group of dressed-up cupids. 

The Valentine’s Day rally highlighted the safety-net system’s crisis in recruiting and retaining workers to deliver care to the county’s most vulnerable residents – a crisis that recently led physicians in the system to vote 99.5% in favor of authorizing a strike. 

Jessica Orantes, a medical assistant at Highland Hospital, said, “The situation across Alameda Health System is breaking my heart right now. I was born at Highland Hospital, and my main goal when I got into healthcare was to work here. But our short staffing and mismanagement is stressful and unsafe for us workers and bad for our patients. We need management to listen to us and understand the staffing and safety crisis we’re in!”

Oakland City Council President and SEIU 1021-endorsed candidate for Alameda County Supervisor for District 5 Nikki Fortunato Bas kicked off the rally, saying, “This hospital serves the entire county. This hospital serves our most vulnerable residents. It is so important to make sure this hospital is fully staffed up.

SEIU 1021 President Theresa Rutherford also addressed the rally, saying, “We have to make sure that the community that we serve is properly served.”

Watch video from the rally here!