A labor union has agreed to pay Sutter Health $6 million for conducting a smear campaign about the cleanliness of the Sacramento, Calif.-based hospital chain's maternity wards and birthing centers.
Unite Here, which represents hospital housekeepers, has formally apologized for sending disparaging postcards to potential patients, which warned that the laundry service used by Sutter Health “does not ensure that ‘clean' linens are free of blood, feces and harmful pathogens.” The postcard had an image of a newborn wrapped in a blanket.
The settlement concludes a legal case that began in 2005, when Unite Here was in a labor dispute with Angelica Textile Services, which provides linen services to Sutter Health and other Northern California hospitals. Unite Here sent the postcards to women of childbearing age living in communities near Sutter Health hospitals and birthing centers.
Sutter Health sued Unite Here for making false accusations and defaming the not-for-profit health system.