Letter from Vice Mayor of Sonoma in Support of NUHW

We are so proud of Vice Mayor Rachel Hundley for her letter of support of the the NUHW workers striking this week. Read the text below or click here for a pdf copy of what the Vice Mayor sent to to Tyler Hedden, CEO of Memorial Hospital.

These are the kinds of fearless leaders we need. Vice Mayor Hundley supports NUHW workers in no uncertain terms.

The North Bay Labor Council thanks you!!

Dear Mr. Hedden,

Like many others, I am dismayed by your administration’s conduct during the ongoing negotiations with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (“NUHW”) on behalf of the more than 750 healthcare workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. No doubt you are aware of the selfless risks these brave individuals face each day they go to work. Despite the unprecedented public health crisis facing our county, state, and country, these workers continue to show up each day—not just to provide for their families, but to provide healing and hope to strangers.

Over the past six months, frontline healthcare workers have captivated our nation through their daily heroic acts. These workers—including the nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, and medical technicians at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital—have shown us who, in times like this, are truly essential. Instead of recognizing and honoring the contributions made by the workers represented by NUHW, your administration wants to dramatically increase the healthcare costs of its workers, reduce their hard-earned paid time off, and freeze their wages.

While the workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital were putting their own health at risk to protect the health of others, your parent company, one of the country’s largest and richest hospital chains, received over $500 million in government funding intended to help struggling hospitals stay afloat during the pandemic. Your parent company, according to the New York Times [link below], currently has a $12 billion cash reserve.

If Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Providence health system cannot offer adequate healthcare benefits to the dedicated workers who are putting their lives at stake to provide quality healthcare services, then you are making a mockery of the federal CARES Act and the funds intended to support the very services these workers provide.

If Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital cannot pay living wages to the essential employees who perform the core functions of its hospital operations that are needed now more than ever to safeguard public health and safety, then you are exploiting a crisis for the sake of a hedge fund.

Demanding wage freezes and cuts to employee benefits after reporting more than $200 million in operating profits over the last three years at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital is an unconscionable affront to your workforce. At this critical juncture, your priority should be settling a fair contract and providing every worker with adequate PPE to keep him, her, or them safe—not making it more expensive to the workers represented by NUHW to seek medical care or take time off when they are sick or need to care for their loved ones.

On behalf of my constituents, I urge you to return to the bargaining table and drop your demands to cut workers’ benefits. If you continue to insist on denying your employees a fair contract, I can assure you that they will have my support on the picket line.

Rachel Hundley
Vice Mayor
City of Sonoma