Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
2802 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

Union Workers at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica to Vote on Possible Strike


Bob Kronovet RealtyWe Love Property Management Headaches!

Santa Monica Travel and Tourism

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

November 29, 2017 -- From nursing assistants to respiratory therapists, hundreds of newly-unionized employees at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica will vote starting Wednesday on whether to authorize a strike over complaints of under-staffing and related issues.

A representative SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West said a strike would affect about 450 employees at the hospital. The vote will continue Friday, with the SEIU-UHW likely announcing the results that evening.

Workers, whose first contract is under negotiation, voted to join the union last February.

The union will vote on "whether to authorize an unfair labor practices strike over the hospital's failure to adhere to its bargaining obligations on such issues," union officials said.

Saint John's officials said they were not aware the union planned a vote and were disappointed by the decision.

"The hospital and the union are in the midst of negotiations for a first contract," officials said. "First contract negotiations typically take more than a year; this bargain has been underway for less than half that time.

"Both teams have shared information, offered meaningful compromises and reached tentative agreements on individual contract articles, which is the heart of the bargaining process.

"From the hospital’s perspective, negotiations have been productive to date and it is premature to call a strike, which, in effect, is an abandonment of the process."

The strike comes as hospitals across the country are cutting staff as they face flat reimbursements and escalating costs, according to STAT, a newsletter that focuses on the nation's $3.4 trillion healthcare industry.

Saint John’s, which is nonprofit, reflects the national trend.

In its 2015 Federal 990 tax-exemption forms, the latest available, the hospital reported $309.5 million in “functional expenses,” with a net income of $41.2 million, down from $65 million the previous year.

Salaries, wages and benefits -- the single biggest expense -- totaled $111.4 million in 2015, up from $102.2 million the previous year, or 38 percent of all spending.

From 2010 to 2012, the hospital reported net income that slipped into the red.

Saint John’s has been a fixture of Santa Monica and the Westside for decades, dating back to its 1938 founding and 1942 opening by Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

After approval by church and state officials in 2014 Providence Health & Services, Southern California, began the move of taking over Saint John’s.

The 265-bed hospital at 2121 Santa Monica Boulevard has about 1,700 employees, its website says.

Union officials said a survey of 154 Saint John's workers conducted in September found that 47 percent reported staffing cuts in their departments over the past year ("Union Workers Picket Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica," October 13, 2017).


Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2017 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures