SEIU 1021

Alameda Health System workers to rally for safety


As SEIU 1021 workers at Alameda Health System continue bargaining a new contract, they’re calling attention to the violence and unsafe conditions so many of them are subjected to.

They’ll be rallying on Wednesday, March 20, at noon at John George Psychiatric Hospital to say “no more!” All SEIU 1021 members are welcome to come show support and solidarity, and can RSVP with the Member Resource Center by calling 877-687-1021.

Tawanda Gilbert is a mental health specialist 2 at John George and serves as chief steward. She said, “We’re going to rally to hold AHS management accountable. As workers, we all deserve a safe workplace. We need training, resources, support, and staffing so we can provide safe and adequate care for our patients and keep ourselves safe on the job. We hope to see you at the rally!”

John George is the only emergency psychiatric hospital in the East Bay. It serves a mostly low-income population and has been fighting understaffing and overcrowding for years.

Management’s own records indicate the depth of the crisis, including one report that declared the facility was averaging an assault per day in 2023, with dozens of those assaults resulting in physical injuries.

According to workers at the facility, the assaults and injuries are a litany of the worst kind of treatment: pulled hair, broken noses, broken ribs, bites, punches to the face and head, broken teeth and jaws, being knocked over, being choked, getting knocked out, being spat at, inappropriate touching, scratches, fractured fingers, slip and fall, assault with bodily fluids, and being slapped.

Workers believe many of these could be avoided with proper staffing, training, and other support and resources that don’t leave patients to be dealt with by a single worker at a time. So far, AHS management has not committed to resolve the long-standing safety issues – but the rallying workers are committed to hold them accountable.