Tenet Nurses, Healthcare Workers Take Action to Protest Sick Leave Cuts

For Immediate Release

SEIU and NNOC/CNA
Contact: 

Shum Preston, 510-273-2276, spreston@calnurses.org,  NNOC/CNA
Kim Diehl, 786-271-4235, kimd@seiufhu.org, SEIU Healthcare

Tenet Nurses, Healthcare Workers Take Action to Protest Sick Leave Cuts

Caregivers from NNOC/CNA and SEIU Protest Reduced Sick Leave As They Prepare to Face H1N1, Influenza Viruses

FLORIDA and CALIFORNIA - Registered nurses and hospital workers who provide care at hospitals owned by Tenet Healthcare Corporation organized an unprecedented national protest today against attempts to cut their access to sick leave.

Tenet healthcare workers who belong to both the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association (NNOC/CNA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare leafleted at nine hospitals in Florida and California.

The caregivers called on Tenet management to reverse its decision to restrict or eliminate access to employees' extended sick leave.

"Every day, we are on the frontlines for responding to health threats like the H1N1 virus. It's basic common sense that nurses and other caregivers should not go to work if we're sick ourselves. But these cuts will make it harder for us to take care of ourselves. It's not too late for Tenet to rethink and redo this by restoring our extended sick leave," said Sherri Stoddard, an RN at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, California and a member of NNOC/CNA.

"It was shocking that Tenet didn't even consult with us before making this decision. Every day we work together as a team to provide high-quality care to every patient we admit. But with a decision like this-one that hurts how we work as a team of caregivers-we got no input," said Besty Marville, an RN in the Trauma/ICU unit at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida and a member of SEIU Healthcare Florida.

Previously, Tenet employees could earn leave for up to 30 days to be deposited into an "Extended Illness Bank" to tap into in the event that they were ill for more than one week. Tenet unilaterally took away current caregivers' ability to build up new hours in their banks and eliminated the bank for new hires.

The cutbacks to employees' ability to manage their own health come as direct caregivers continue to respond to infectious outbreaks. The World Health Organization has raised the worldwide pandemic alert level of the influenza A (H1N1) virus to Phase 6. At least 55 healthcare workers have been infected with the swine flu virus.

"Tenet is one of the largest for-profit hospital chains in the United States. It made a profit in the last quarter. We're standing with Tenet co-workers who are dealing with these cuts to ensure that they can protect their health with good sick leave benefits," said Teri Baro, an OR Materials Coordinator at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and a member of SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West.

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NNOC/CNA is the voice of the national nurses movement, representing 86,000 RNs in all 50 states, and is a founding member of the newly formed United American Nurses-National Nurses Organizing Committee (UAN-NNOC, AFL-CIO). Learn more at www.nnoc.net.

SEIU Healthcare is the nation's largest organization of healthcare workers, uniting more than 1 million doctors, nurses, hospital workers, and long-term care workers. We stand united for quality patient care and quality careers for healthcare workers. Go to www.seiu.org to get involved.

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