SEIU: Cedars-Sinai Employees to Protest Over Hospital’s COVID-19 Safety Violations

Los Angeles, April 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LOS ANGELES – Cedars-Sinai employees and allies will hold a picket Wednesday, April 20 at 11 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to expose the hospital’s threat to workers and patients after Cal/OSHA issued the hospital seven citations for violating OSHA regulations designed to protect workplace safety. Four of the citations were classified as serious health and safety violations related to COVID-19 prevention.    

“It’s outrageous that Cedars-Sinai Medical Center left some of its employees defenseless against COVID-19 as we worked together to care for patients,” said Taryne Mosley, a surgical technician at Cedars-Sinai. “We want our employer to protect healthcare workers from suffering harm in the first place, not only after people have died. The public needs to know that Cedars-Sinai is putting patients and workers in danger by not complying with basic health and safety laws.”

State health and safety regulators fined Cedars-Sinai Medical Center $97,000 over the seven violations. Most of the Cal/OSHA violations were related to health and safety protocols for COVID-19 prevention, including charges that:  

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center failed to immediately report the serious illness of several workers who contracted COVID-19, including an environmental services technician who was hospitalized, an environmental services supervisor, a certified nursing assistant, and a security officer who were all hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai and subsequently passed away.
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center failed to maintain an adequate Aerosol Transmissible Disease (ATD) exposure control plan; a standard designed to protect employees who are at increased risk of contracting certain airborne infections due to their work activities. Cedars-Sinai’s plan failed to include workers who have occupational exposure to COVID-19, such as environmental services technicians, central transporters, and food service employees.
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center failed to provide the required aerosol transmissible pathogens training to auxiliary staff with occupational exposure to COVID-19. For example, environmental services employees were informed that surgical masks alone were sufficient to protect themselves from exposure to infectious aerosols. In addition, OSHA found that the hospital failed to provide effective training to an environmental services worker on how to immediately access personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields, goggles, and N-95 respirators when PPE was required.
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center failed to use feasible engineering and work practice controls to minimize the exposure of auxiliary staff, nurses, and certified nursing assistants in its 4th-floor breakroom.

Earlier this month, workers at Cedars-Sinai voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike to demand that their employer bargain in good faith with them over patient and worker safety concerns, inadequate staffing, and low wages amid historically high inflation. More than 2,000 Cedars-Sinai employees are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW).

Renee Saldana
Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW)
Source: Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW)

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