PTI Labor Research
  Power Through Information  

Latest News - April 2014

April 14, 2014
Resolution Over Nurse Contract At Community Hospital Of Long Beach Sparks Ire
Source: The Gazette
By: Harry Saltzgaver

Long Beach’s City Council will vote Tuesday on a resolution that would “strongly encourage” MemorialCare and the California Nurses Association to reach an agreement on a contract for nurses at Community Hospital of Long Beach.

Moreover, the resolution calls for a contract “that reconizes one community standard for patients and Registered Nurses and commits to maintain all vital and acute care services for the surrounding community.” That language would appear to be pushing MemorialCare to allow the Community Hospital nurses unit to come under the Memorial Medical Center nurses, contract — something MemorialCare officials have rejected. The language also appears to seek a contractual promise to keep all portions of Community open.

“We have met with the union more than 30 times and have resolved more than half of the proposed articles,” MemorialCare spokesperson Richelle Steele said in a statement. “We are disappointed that the union is focusing its attention on negotiation tactics, and involving a third party in the negotiations between our two parties. And, we are appalled that the City Council would intervene in these private negotiations.”

Diana Hendel, CEO for Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital and Community Hospital, said she was aware of the history at the Community — Catholic HealthCare West purchasedpurchased the hospital, then closed it less than two years later, in 2000 — but that there was no cause for concern.

“We didn’t buy it to close it,” Hendel said last month. “That doesn’t make sense. We talk a lot about our behavioral health (psychiatric care) unit because it is new. But we have no intention of closing the surgical, acute care or emergency. We’re making investments there — why would we close it?”

MemorialCare agreed to a “merger” with Community Hospital of Long Beach, the local group that reopened the hospital under an agreement with the city, in April 2011. MemorialCare took over operation, administration and the lease from the city for the property — a lease that requires that a general purpose hospital remain open on the site, Hendel noted.

In December 2012, nurses at Community voted to organize and be represented by the California Nurses Association. Contract negotiationsContract negotiations began in March 2013, and in December 2013 the nurses organized a vigil to protest the lack of a contract and what it called unsafe conditions for patients at Community.

“Memorial still refuses to follow safe staffing in all the units,” said Sherine Cooper, an RN who has spent her entire five-year career at Community in the heart care unit. She is part of the CNA bargaining team. “That’s the major reason we’re negotiating. At Memorial, they have higher standards for patients and nurses… They have implied that we don’t deserve the same.”

Memorial officials denied any favoritism or wrongdoing. Community is a different situation than the much larger Memorial, they have said in the past. MemorialCare has invested $4.4 million in patient care equipment and another $2 million in infrastructure while increasing nurses’ base wages from 6% to 23% in the last three years, Steele said.

The potential of a city resolution clearly bothered MemorialCare.

“Community Hospital Long Beach is not owned by the city,” Steele said. “While the city of Long Beach owns the land and buildings, it does not own or control the hospital — MemorialCare has a long-term lease of the buildings and holds the license from the state to operate the hospital. The council should not second guess or otherwise interfere with MemorialCare’s operations and continued improvement of CHLB.”

When the council asked for the resolution to be prepared on April 1, Third District Councilman Gary DeLong made a substitute motion to urge that the two sides continue to negotiate in good faith, but it died for lack of a second. The vote to prepare a resolution passed 7-1, with DeLong voting no and Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews absent




Latest News

Deliver your message anywhere, anytime.
Campaign Websites reinforce your campaign message in a format that preserves employee anonymity


Union Awareness Program
PTI Labor Research has been obtaining and analyzing union activity and petitions for over 20 years. We have the largest and most extensive research data in the country which has been utilized by thousands of companies, labor lawyers and consultants.


About Us          |          Services          |          News          |          Clients          |          FAQ          |          Contact Us

© 2009 PTI Labor Research. All Rights Reserved