At Alameda Health System, 1021 Members Stand Up for a Safe Workplace and a Healthy Environment for Patients
For years, Alameda Health System hospitals have faced
underfunding from the County. Understaffed departments are
struggling to provide adequate care for the poor, the elderly,
the homeless, and people experiencing mental health crises. Now,
SEIU 1021 members are standing up and saying “Enough is
On Tuesday, January 21, hundreds of AHS workers rallied outside Highland Hospital to kickoff contract negotiations. Hospital workers wanted to show management and Alameda County leaders that SEIU 1021 members won’t stand for inadequate patient care, unmet staffing ratios, and an entire hospital system currently suffering from unsafe working conditions for workers and unhealthy conditions for sick people.
Stacy Lee, a speech pathologist at Fairmont Hospital, and member of the elected bargaining team, addressed the rally and outlined how the understaffing crisis is affecting rehab patients: “On the acute team, we treat patients who are facing life-changing challenges after injury or illness. Our goal is to help them make a safe return into the community by providing physical, speech, and occupational therapy, but we are so understaffed that care and discharge can both be delayed. Also, we have no psychologists in the acute rehab, skilled nursing facility and outpatient unit. There is no mental health support to help these patients learn the tools and coping strategies that will help them adjust and go back home.”
Understaffing is also hurting patients and workers at John George Psychiatric Hospital, where patients have assaulted staff and other patients, because there simply aren’t enough staffers on shift. Emergency rooms across the system are underfunded, forcing long wait times as nurses struggle to find the equipment they need, from thermometers to EKG machines. As bargaining continues, 1021 members will continue to demand that AHS address these issues.