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SEIU-UHW Members Urge Approval of Sale of Daughters of Charity Hospitals to Prime Healthcare

January 31, 2015

Working members of the SEIU-UHW break ranks with their leadership and urge Attorney General Kamala Harris to approve the sale of the Daughters of Charity Health System hospitals to Prime Healthcare in an emotional new YouTube video that demonstrates the depth of worker support for the sale.

“I’m ashamed to say I’m an SEIU member,” says Frank Roeth, a 29-year employee of O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and former SEIU steward. “The SEIU is not looking out for its members. It is looking out for its own political interests.”

Roeth was among hundreds of working members of the SEIU-UHW who defiantly supported the sale during a series of public hearings held by the attorney general, who must give final approval. Whether by signing petitions, writing letters or in public testimony, these SEIU members opted to stand up against SEIU president Dave Regan’s opposition to the sale.

The attorney general hearings were held in the first week of January at the six DCHS hospitals – Seton Medical Center in Daly City; Seton Coastside in Moss Beach; O’Connor Hospital in San Jose; Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy; St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Prime Healthcare was selected by the DCHS board of directors after a lengthy and detailed evaluation process and was far and away the best bid received for the hospital system, which is losing $10 million a month. Prime Healthcare has pledged to honor all union contracts and invest $150 million in capital improvements over the next three years. Prime also accepted 100 percent responsibility for the pensions of the more than 17,000 union and non-union workers – the only bidder to do so.

Prime isn’t just the best choice – it is the only choice to keep the hospitals open and preserve the jobs of thousands of union and non-union medical workers.

“The SEIU has no idea how we feel, how its workers feel,” said Laquita Centeno, a 23-year employee of Saint Louise and a current SEIU member. “Prime is the only one to say we guarantee your pensions, your jobs and the hospitals. The SEIU doesn’t care about that apparently.”

The SEIU members supporting the sale join more than 30 current and former elected officials throughout the state, the California Nurses Association, and a great majority of physicians, nurses, employees and community members who have publicly expressed their belief that the sale of the Daughters of Charity Health System to Prime Healthcare is the only viable option for preserving these important safety-net hospitals.