SEIU 1021

SEIU 1021 members tell the Alameda Health System Board of Trustees: “SAFE STAFFING SAVES LIVES”


Last Wednesday, June 12, hundreds of SEIU 1021 members gathered in Highland Hospital’s cafeteria before marching on the Alameda Health System Board of Trustees, chanting “SAFE STAFFING SAVES LIVES!”

At the Board of Trustees meeting, member after member spoke up to demand a fair contract that addresses the core issues hurting AHS workers: bad management, safety, and staffing.

The workers reminded the Board that they just voted 99.5% to authorize a strike, and that they had gone on strike in 2020.

It wasn’t just the workers who could be at the board meeting at 5 p.m. who were heard, though: Those in attendance hand-delivered 1,200 cards members had filled out reading “FIX AHS” to the Board, representing workers from across the system. Workers also delivered a petition of no confidence in emergency room leadership to provide safe working conditions. The petition had been signed by a full 75% of the Highland emergency room workers.

After more than 20 members told their stories and demanded a fair contract, they marched out, chanting “SAFE STAFFING SAVES LIVES.”

As Natalia Navarro reported on KQED’s Marketplace on June 11, “Thirty-five hundred workers across Alameda County’s public healthcare system are ready to strike. That’s after a near-unanimous strike vote. Nurses, lab workers, custodians and others in the Alameda Health system have been without a contract since May 31st. Their union, SEIU 1021, has accused the medical safety-net provider of dangerously understaffing its facilities, due to what workers say are non-competitive wages. [...] No date yet has been set yet for a strike.”

Earlier that day, Alameda Health System ER nurse John Pearson described one facet of the mismanaged staffing situation at AHS in an interview: ”If I call out tomorrow, the only thing that happens is some of my coworkers will text other people and say, ‘Hey, can anyone come in?’ [Our situation] is just hoping for volunteers, and we want [management] to have an actual plan.”