More than 220 employees at Kindred Hospital La Mirada in California voted to unionize and join the large and powerful Service Employees International Union. The group will lend its support to the union's campaign to raise California's minimum wage to $15 an hour and fully fund Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.
The Kindred employees who joined the union represent a variety of jobs at the hospital, including certified nursing assistants, cooks, radiology technologists and surgical assistants. SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West will grow by 153 with the Kindred employees, while 70 registered nurses join SEIU-121RN, the part of the union that represents registered nurses.
Kindred Hospital La Mirada is an acute-care facility with 216 beds and is part of Kindred Healthcare, based in Louisville, Ky.
In a SEIU-UHW press release, Juan Perez, a licensed vocational nurse at Kindred Hospital La Mirada, said, “By having a more unified voice on the job, we will have more say in delivering the best patient care every day, and that's something that benefits patients, workers and the entire community.”
SEIU has been front and center in the effort to raise the minimum wage in California to $15 an hour by 2021.
They also were recently part of a complaint filed with HHS' Office for Civil Rights that alleges California's low Medicaid reimbursement rates have led to a dearth of care for many of the state's Latino residents, and that's a violation of their civil rights.
Advocates want the OCR to order the state to raise primary-care and certain specialty-care reimbursement rates.
The SEIU-UHW is one of the largest union of hospital workers, with more than 80,000 members, according to its website.
The majority of SEIU-UHW members are employed at large health systems in the West, including Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Tenet Healthcare Corp., Sutter Health and Daughters of Charity Health System.
In the past year, the SEIU-UHW was involved in a campaign to block the sale of Daughters of Charity Health System to Prime Healthcare Services, based in Ontario, Calif. The union's efforts were ultimately successful and Prime Healthcare walked away from the $843 million deal this year after California Attorney General Kamala Harris imposed more than 300 conditions for the deal, Modern Healthcare reported.