Humboldt-Del Norte Central Labor Council ‘Shocked and Disappointed’ by Layoff of 35 Caregivers by St Joe’s Health
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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.
Humboldt and Del Norte CLC
840 E Street
Eureka CA 95501