SAN FRANCISCO – About a hundred union members, medical staff and community leaders gathered at the University of California (UC) -San Francisco Medical Center to protest job cuts there. But it was a protest action that led to civil disobedience.
Vic San Vicente, a hospital security guard, was one of those who willfully blocked traffic, to support his fellow workers who lost their jobs in a massive layoff this week.
“They were not even given enough notice,” he said.
Last month, UC Patient Care Technical workers released a whistleblower report that exposed chronic understaffing and other deficiencies within the seven billion dollar UC medical system. The report documented problems that included preventable infections, exorbitant executive pays and under-sanitized facilities.
Within days of the report’s release, the second most profitable hospital in the UC system announced that it would eliminate 300 jobs, including many frontline patient care positions.
Connie Salguero had been a Patient Care Assistant at the hospital for three years. As of April 1, she no longer has that job.
“How am I going to survive? How am I going to pay for rent? How am I going to send money home to my family in the Philippines?” she lamented.
Other patient care assistants like Rodrigo Regala are concerned more workers may lose their jobs because of the scathing report.
“You come to work uneasy because you don’t know when the second round of layoffs will happen,” he said.
The UC San Francisco Medical Center said staff reductions were made to prepare for additional costs it would incur, in connection with President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
It maintains that there will be no impact on patient care, following the job reductions.
But protesters, many of them lower-paid workers, said they should not take the brunt of the hospital’s budget woes, especially when it continues to increase its management staff.