SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Members of a union representing some 740 health care workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital are planning daily pickets starting Monday to protest the lack of a contract, proposed reductions in sick leave and health care benefits, reduced staffing and a lack of personal protective equipment during the novel coronavirus health emergency.
Hundreds of personnel represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers will picked six feet apart from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, 1165 Montgomery Drive, with rallies each day at 11 a.m.
"We are confronting a pandemic without the staffing levels and PPE we need to keep ourselves and our patients safe," nursing assistant Melissa Bosanco said in a news release from the union . "Santa Rosa Memorial should use its profits to help us get through the pandemic safely instead of trying to take away our sick leave and affordable health care."
Some 740 workers, including nursing assistants, respiratory therapists and medical technicians, are expected to participate in the five-day protest.
The union contends that the hospital, owned by Providence St. Joseph Health, has demanded "sharp cuts to accrued sick leave and health care benefits."
Among its complaints, the union claims that "caregivers at Santa Rosa Memorial are routinely denied the N95 masks that provide the highest level of protection. Even nursing assistants caring for suspected COVID-positive patients and phlebotomists administering COVID tests to hundreds of community members are not provided N95 masks."