CHA Hollywood Presbyterian workers to stage protest over job outsourcing – Daily News

on Nov19
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CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center workers and supporters plan to stage a protest Wednesday over the hospital’s refusal to ban outsourcing of jobs to companies that pay less, offer fewer benefits and allegedly undermine patient care.

More than 615 employees at the facility are represented by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West and their contract with the hospital expires Dec. 31. They have asked the hospital to ban outsourcing but say executives have refused.

The “lowest bidder”

“In the heart of Hollywood, this hospital’s executives think it is OK to farm out patient care to the lowest bidder when all they get in return are less experienced workers and a greater risk to patients,” respiratory therapist Natalie Mondragon said.

The practice, she said, has eroded patient trust, lowered morale and fueled higher employee turnover.

The protest will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the medical center, 1300 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. Representatives from the hospital could not be reached for comment Monday despite repeated phone calls.

More than 615 employees at the medical center are represented by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.

In 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian announced plans to outsource 88 respiratory therapists. That resulted in employee layoffs, although the plan was later reversed following negotiations between hospital executives and the workers.

Employees say they are trying to prevent that from happening again.

A point of contention

Outsourcing has become a point of contention between workers and management throughout Southern California. Thousands of University of California service and patient care workers gathered Wednesday at the school’s 10 California campuses and five medical centers to protest UC’s practice of outsourcing jobs to lower-wage contract workers.

In Los Angeles, an estimated 300 employees represented by the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees Local 3299 gathered in front of the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, eventually making their way down Westwood Boulevard. Similar protests were held that day at UC Riverside and UC Irvine Medical Center.

Nothing new

Shantanu Dutta, an associate professor of marketing at USC, said outsourcing is nothing new.

“It’s been going on for ages — it’s just taking different forms,” Dutta said. “The workplace is changing. Artificial intelligence has automated things and that has changed the nature of work. Medical centers are feeling the pressure to deliver more for less, instead of keeping prices higher.”

The solution, he said, is to keep as much of the existing workforce as possible and retrain them to harness technology and become more productive. Some jobs will inevitably be lost, he said, but the quality of patient care and services rendered by other kinds of businesses ultimately will improve.

“We can use AI to make employees more effective without laying them off,” Dutta said.

CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center is a 434-bed acute care facility with 89 skilled nursing beds. The hospital has a medical staff of more than 500 physicians and specialists, representing 69 specialties and 75 different countries.

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