Humboldt-Del Norte Central Labor Council ‘Shocked and Disappointed’ by Layoff of 35 Caregivers by St Joe’s Health

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Medical Feature

Note: Image by H.p.frei via Wikimedia Commons

As the President of the Humboldt-Del Norte Central Labor Council, I have the privilege of representing thousands of working people across these two counties. In addition to being working people, we will all someday, whether we like it or not, become patients in a local hospital, most likely St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka or Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna.

So as the leaders of working families and as future patients, we are shocked and disappointed by the announcement that at least 35 caregivers at Eureka and Redwood were laid off… Apparently Hospital administrators missed the memo that Nurses and health care workers issued at a press conference earlier this week: staffing in the hospital is already unsafe. And now, with 35 fewer patient care sitters, emergency room and pharmacy technicians and other critical care staff, staffing is even more bare bones.

Nurses and health care workers are already asked to do too much with too little. Staffing is already razor thin, supplies in great demand and workers pushed to the limit. And when caregivers are tired, stressed and pushed for greater productivity, how do patients fare? Unfortunately, not well.

Frankly, the Hospital’s economics don’t make sense. First of all, as “non-profits” they do not pay federal, state or county taxes and so they do not contribute to our communities like the rest of us do. According to publicly available data, St. Joseph and Redwood have fallen more than $750,000 behind on their commitment to charity care, which they provide as a trade-off for not paying taxes. And finally, in 2017, St. Joseph Hospital netted $43.7 million in profits while Redwood made $14.3 million. So they don’t pay taxes, they’ve shorted their charity care giving and they made a combined $58 million in profits. Where has all that money gone? And yet, they lay off working patient care workers? It makes no sense.
We urge the leaders of St. Joseph Humboldt to rescind these layoffs, bring these workers back to their jobs and ensure safe staffing at all times. And we call on Hospital administrators to be more accountable and more transparent to our community. We are the patients – present and future – and we deserve to know that we will be taken care of and where our money is going.

Mike Hetticher
Humboldt and Del Norte CLC
840 E Street
Eureka CA 95501



  • I think unfortunately it’s going to come down to a lawsuit before “St Joke” do “the Right Thing”!!!

  • I tried to get some more information yesterday because the allegations made by the union were disturbing. What I did find out was that it is not so simple as being said but not what the bottom line was. And certainly nothing as official as to be authoritative.

    What I was told was that the people getting laid off were limited in their certification and therefore to be unable to handle the kind of work needing done now. That more people with the right skills and certifications are needed to be hired. But does that mean that St. Joe’s will be hiring them? Who knows.

    Both the Union and the Hospital administration are not being fully open in public. It is hard to support either with such doubt.

    • Don’t buy into it...

      GUEST: My friend was laid off from Redwood and she has been doing her job for over 25 years. She more than qualified and has all of the right training and certifications. Bottom line, this corporation has been screwing people over for years! They’re greedy!

  • groba dude trustafarian osnt

    Anyone who thinks that Hospitals in general, and St Joseph’s of Orange in particular, is operated transparently, or even with a mind to the public good, or in the interest of patient safety or with a mind to adequate staffing, is sadly deluded.

    Hospitals do not exist to take care of patients. Hospitals exist to make money.

    Nobody in the administrative offices, or in the Corporate Headquarters of St Josephs cares, any more, about lower paid staff, lower level certificated staff, or regular licensed staff, than they do about their mission:

    Face it: The mission is to make money, to keep the staff down, to delude the public, and basically, to do whatever they like to support the fat cat leaders, the overpaid Administrators, and possibly even the Church…

    Working at St Joseph’s is a nightmare. Even the managers are fired for no particular reason. If you are not Catholic, forget about a future there. If you are Catholic, hell, you can come to work high, drunk, incompetent or crazy, like my coworker there at Redwood.

    Working for any Catholic Hospital in California, Dignity Health, St Joseph’s, CHI, is a trip through the looking glass and into the past, where compliance with sensibilities and employment law are concerned. The idea that some Union has any control over them is just silly, since Unions exist to make money for the Union only.

    The Gobbledegook above is hardly a story, and just represents more of the sort of run-of-the-mill complaining, that you will hear everywhere in Humboldt every day…

    The only thing you can do here, is, don’t work for St Joseph’s, don’t use them for Healthcare. A general boycott is about the only way to affect St Joseph’s, since the organization does not appear to care about the community, it’s own employees, or much of anything at all.

    BTW, the glomming together of these companies, Adventist plus St Joseph’s, St Josephs plus CHI, etc, will result in a terrible situation where no-one has much choice, and everywhere in CA will be the same, consumer-wise and employee-wise. Make good choices now, about your future, your career, and the way you consume healthcare, since choices will soon be gone and there will only be 2-3 companies selling healthcare.


    • And go where to have your heart attack?

      • groba dude trustafarian osnt

        Well, don’t have it… obviously.

        Try Ukiah, Yuba City, Santa Rosa. Good luck!

        • Ukiah is just as bad. My baby and I were both assaulted there. To piggyback on the above comment, hospitals and doctors in California are completely protected from medical malpractice lawsuits due to a 1975 law called MICRA that limits civil suit awards for medical malpractice to $250k. So unless you have video or photographic evidence of wrongdoing, no lawyer will bother fighting for the victims. Lesson learned: video everything. Doctors are getting away with murder.

          • That’s not precisely what it said. Try this:

            The State Legislature passed MICRA in 1975. For those that are not familiar with MICRA, could you provide some background?

            Soon after Jerry Brown was elected Governor in 1974, the two main medical liability insurance companies writing policies in California for physicians, Travelers and Argonaut, announced premium rate increases of 400% and 300%. They also said that this was the last year they were going to insure doctors for professional negligence. In response, doctors said and did different things that created uncertainty about the continued availability of health care services: went without insurance, limited their practices, refused to take any but emergency cases, threatened to leave the state and threatened to cease their practices until medical liability insurance became available and affordable.

            The Governor, faced with what most viewed as a medical liability insurance crisis, called a special session of the California Legislature on medical liability. In the proclamation calling that special session, the Governor outlined recommendations for the Legislature to consider: a ceiling on the amount of non-economic damages recoverable at $250,000, a shortened and clearer statute of limitations, a sliding scale for attorney contingency fee compensation so that in cases with severely injured patients, the patients would recover more of the total award or settlement and the attorney less, periodic payment of damages for future loss, and letting the jury know about the plaintiff’s right to double recovery (collateral sources) for injuries sued upon.
            more at

    • adventist health is a part of the seventh day adventist chruch is it not ? david coresh was a seventh day adventist as well. all a bunch of cult crap. their “profet” ellen g white was a nut job with tbi that caused her to have visions from god. yet her visions that told her the second coming of christ was to happen in 1862 were so wrong . she quickly rebounded however and formed with others to create the sda church which is a cult. how can anyone trust a doctor who belongs to a church whos leader had visions that started after she was hit in the head with a rock at the age of 13 and not question what sort of brain tramma is at play.

  • Ironically my husband had to go to ER on Thursday. It was a pain management issue, because of layoffs he asked I take him to Mad River which is 20 min farther than St. Joseph. So non life threatening go somewhere else

  • Mad River👍. God forbid
    But they took great care
    Of me when life didn’t

    • Mad River is a great alternative and actually has nurses. Unfortunately, it’s very small and can’t handle the entire county. I’m having major scheduled surgery and going to Grant’s Pass/Medford area, where there are three very highly rated hospitals within a single day’s round trip without the Bay Area traffic. I agree, boycott is the only answer unless you have an emergency.

      • Boycotting leads to having no place to go when you do have an emergency. A hospital can not maintain doctors, nurses or anyone to help in an emergency or those with little resources without patronage by those who have more resources. The very idea of this creates a two tiered medical system where those who have the money to travel one kind of care versus those who don’t have the money (or health) to repeatedly travel.

        A solution is not an end run for those wealthy enough to escape but fixing the problem with local medical services. Sadly part of the problem is our drug ridden populace with large percentage of publicly funded individuals. How to make Humboldt Co an attractive place to practice medicine is the question.

        • Boycotting is an effective solution to a poor situation.

          We really have no acceptable alternative, unless somebody puts up about $500,000,000.

          Call Mark Zuckerberg! He likes to give money for healthcare!

          Hey, if you use St Josephs, don’t complain about it. It is a known quantity, evil as it is. You know what you will get!

          Two tiers is right, those who can afford it, which is almost nobody, and those who have Medi-Cal and Medicare.

          You have to hand it to St Joseph’s, for making a profit with hospitals in this market…

  • Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.

  • 1) St. Joe’s is not Sisters of Orange anymore but owned by Providence now.
    2) Interesting comments by ‘Guest” about the laid of employees not having the skills needed now and they need to hire . Pray tell where will they hire from Good doctors and highly skilled staff Are Not flocking to work in the hospitals here, or health care in general., so I’d really like St Joe upper management explain that one in better detail.
    3) I had OK care at Mad River ER but was glad I had that option over St Joe’s. I think they had a full house that day but they took care of the immediate problem OK, but upon reflection there was more they could have done to assess further. And I was annoyed when I could a bill for the ER Doc I never met, consulted with or laid eyes on as the PA and the RN did all the patient care that day.

  • I wonder how bad our “health care” will have to get before there are some major reforms. Starting with the dirty drugs, dirty vaccines, dirty facilities. I get the profit motive of all three but hire more janitors, it can’t be that expensive to disinfect floors daily. I had a doctor at mad river tell me she was “all about science” it’s funny they have the doctors so brain washed even they don’t know that in truth every practice in this industry is actually about profit first, profit second and profit third. These doctors don’t seem to realize that they are working for a for profit industry. With major profits being made daily at the expense of our health and our lives. All I can say is eat your greens and take your vitamins, try to stay away and ahead of their game. They will kill, maime and disable you and your loved ones- and make a lot of money doing it!

  • groba dude trustafarian osnt

    It is amusing, when St Joseph’s or Mad River or even Tiny Jerold Phelps Hospitals make the news, since everyone complains but you all seem to think you are so powerless. The services available in Humboldt, are terrible. No healthcare operation in Humboldt is decent, and they are all stumbling around in the dark, pretending that nobody cares, and that they (the healthcare company) can get away with anything at all!

    The power lies in you getting in your vehicle, and leaving Humboldt County to acquire healthcare. The power needs to be exhibited, not with a small protest by soon to be fired low end employees, but with a large protest by EVERYONE, followed with a general boycott by patients.

    St Joseph’s is an entity operated by the out-of-touch for the benefit of the out-of-town.
    When they say that they “just cant find the employees they need”, they mean employees who will swallow their old-school bullshit while earning non-competitive low salary, and eating a steady meal of Catholic Indoctrination and Gaslighting.

    St Joseph’s: Modern healthcare employees are not robots! They need a decent wage, safe and modern conditions and equipment, and a progressive, well staffed hospital to work in. Sticking to the 1955 model will not work. Lean staffing, will not work. Unsafe conditions and inadequate staffing: will not work!

    Patients are being called on to accept unsafe treatment and low staffing as the norm! The experience of being an inpatient is as nearly intolerable as it could be! Why should we accept this?

    Take your business to another hospital! To another clinic! Another town!

    Consume healthcare as you would any other service. Compare services and costs, do some research, give feedback, and shop until you are satisfied! Don’t just go to the terrible healthcare store and pay too much or accept poor treatment, just because it’s right down the street! You have a choice!

    St Joseph’s depends on those Medi-cal and Medicare patients. These patients are the core, the bread and butter of the organization. Serving the poor is supposed to be the mission! Every patient deserves adequate care according to current law and standard of practice. Why should hospitals be allowed to skirt and dodge around applicable laws and staffing requirements?

    Don’t listen to the excuses! Just don’t go there, until it improves, until the HR department is cleaned out, until the Administrators are fired, until the leaders capitulate! St Joseph’s will be taken over by Adventist Health, just as Rideout Hospital was, in Marysville. Believe me, if you don’t like St Joseph’s, you will really not like Adventist!

    Patients have the power here!


    • What if you’re too sick to travel? Or too poor? Or need frequent visits? What if your insurance has a provider network limited to the area? What if you have no primary doctor to make a referral out of area? Boycotting sounds like a good idea except it doesn’t work for many people.

      I travelled out of area first to see a specialist, then to have surgery. It took six seperate trips lasting 2 or 3 days as a test would be scheduled, then needed another consultation followed by more tests, a referral to a different specialist, another test, etc. All either early enough in the day I had to travel there the day before or so late that I had to come home the next day. And this was despite repeated efforts to get some of them combined into one trip and not having a follow up visit after surgery. It ended up costing way more to do all that travelling than to have the actual surgery. And while being sick the whole time. It was not an easy thing to do. Even with help from my local doctor which is not something always forthcoming.

  • Don’t worry, Hospital mistakes are only the third leading cause of death in the United States. Of course we don’t want to band Hospital do we.

    • I would guess that lack of hospitals would become leading cause of death in that case. Argh! The point is to improve care, not eliminate it.

  • Walk in patient: Intake took ten minutes, physician interview, lab testing with dx of type A flu, inhalation therapy, prescribed and purchased six medications on site, second physician interview with appointment for second visit if needed. Total time, less than three hours. Total cost, $320 U.S. Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. MAGA indeed.

  • The fact that the hospital corporation has a deal to do charity in order to not pay taxes is just a symptom of and result of our national blame government and taxes for everything history. We need national systemic infrastructure inkling universal health care AND more time off for all laborers so that we have time to be informed citizens. The original Tea Party fought to not pay taxes to oppressors and to instead pay taxes to ourselves, oh and they devoted much more time to government than we to these days, we expect it to just work fine for us while we do not participate. We have a government designed (in part from ideas stolen, appropriated, appreciated from Natives) to be relatively accessible and transparent and like spoiled children we do not participate and we use the transparency only to make it an easy scape goat while billionaires rake us over the coals. Grow up America.

  • Got out of Humboldt

    Rough Valley Hospital rated number 1 in Nation for cardiology.

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