SEIU members at dozens of HCA Healthcare hospitals spanning five states take action to mark contract expiration for thousands of workers in California, with 19,000 more set to expire by September
Los Angeles, CA – Tens of thousands of frontline healthcare workers at America’s largest hospital chain, HCA Healthcare, held a massive nationwide day of action from California to Florida today, in rolling demonstrations that mark the first of a coming wave of union contract expirations for 22,000 workers across five states in the coming months.
Workers are demanding that the for-profit behemoth invest in safe staffing and quality patient care. HCA made $5.6 billion in profits in 2022, yet maintains staffing levels at its 180+ hospitals that lag the national average by 30%. HCA is facing mounting allegations of widespread patient safety failures.
The nationwide action marked today’s expiration of the union contract covering 3,000 SEIU UHW workers in California. Despite the deadline, HCA has failed to make meaningful movement in negotiations. Contracts for 19,000 more nurses and other healthcare workers at HCA-owned hospitals in Florida and Nevada, for ancillary staff at HCA hospitals in Texas and Kansas, and for nurses in California are also set to expire between now and September. This year’s mass expiration, covering nearly 10% of HCA’s U.S. workforce, opens the door for HCA workers to take strike actions on a scale never seen before in the American healthcare system.
Workers engaged in actions at 30 major HCA hospitals from coast to coast and held their largest picket to date at HCA’s Riverside Community Hospital in southern California, which includes SEIU members from local unions across the region. Thousands of nurses, CNAs, environmental service workers, dietary staff and more are wearing protest pins and buttons to send a clear message to HCA: Workers and patients deserve better, and SEIU members are ready to do what it takes to win quality care and quality jobs at the healthcare giant.
“I put my life at risk while working during the global pandemic because I care about the patients and the community of El Paso,” said Diane Waldo, a radiology tech who works at Las Palmas Medical. “We recognize the disrespect that comes directly from HCA and we’re not going to tolerate it any longer, especially when we see that their profits are through the roof. The trauma we went through in the pandemic isn’t only from watching our workers get sick and die, working without enough PPE – it’s the disrespect and danger HCA put us through.”
The call for accountability by SEIU members comes as federal scrutiny of HCA grows, including calls for a congressional investigation into HCA’s alleged widespread Medicare fraud – in a possible repeat of a massive DOJ Medicare settlement that marred the corporation in the early 2000s – and a letter demanding answers from Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Gus Bilirakis sent this month to HCA executives. The massive worker action also follows a recent onslaught of graphic and disturbing reports revealing shockingly poor conditions, created by what workers say is by HCA’s systemic failure to prioritize patient care over profit.
ABOUT SEIU HEALTHCARE
More than one million healthcare workers across hospitals, home care, and in nursing homes are united in SEIU, the nation’s largest union of healthcare workers. SEIU is an organization of nearly 2 million members united by a belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers, families, and communities to create a more just and humane society.
For more information, visit: https://www.seiu.org