Teamsters 856 members among the group who presented the report to hospital management
In May, Teamsters 856 members at Marin General Hospital (MGH) spoke out at a North Bay Workers’ Rights Board Hearing. The Board, which is affiliated with North Bay Jobs with Justice provides a public outlet for workers to voice concerns about violations of their rights on the job. For 856 members at the hospital, concerns ranged from short staffing to the automation of workers’ jobs.
Then in June, after the final report was published, Marty Bennett from North Bay Jobs with Justice presented the report at the Marin Healthcare District Board meeting. Marty was accompanied by Teamsters 856 members, including David Wallace and Brandon Taylor who works in MGH’s environmental services department.
856 members, including surgical technologists, patient admitting staff, monitor technicians, and environmental services aides, were among the hospital workers who testified before the Board about the negative impact their current working conditions have had on their ability to provide their patients with the best possible care.
David Wallace has been a monitor tech at MGH for over a decade. His job is to monitor patients’ EKG, blood pressure, oxygen, and more, and notify a nurse or a CNA when any of these vital signs reaches a dangerous level. David testified at the hearing, and when asked why he chose to speak out publically, he said that his biggest concern is staff shortages.
“A call light going off means a patient needs assistance,” he said. “If a light goes off for five or ten minutes and there is no one available to get to the room because we’re so short-staffed, it puts patients at risk.”
David said short staffing is a slippery slope that can lead to jeopardizing the health and safety of not one patient, but many. “If I’m out there by myself at the desk, and I have to leave the desk and go and check on patients because not enough people are working, that means no one’s watching a monitor and something could happen to another patient,” he said.
Following the hearing, Lee Domanico, CEO of Marin General Hospital, was emailed the Workers’ Rights Board’s preliminary findings – the initial findings released by the Board directly after hearing worker testimony. Although he was given a week, North Bay Jobs with Justice Chair Matt Myres never received a response. In fact, outside of phone conversations with Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly, who served on the Board, neither Domanico nor any member of MGH management have formally responded.
Then in June, after the final report was published, Marty Bennett from
the North Bay Jobs with Justice presented the report at the Marin Healthcare District Board meeting. Marty was accompanied by Teamsters 856 members, including David Wallace and Brandon Taylor who works in MGH’s environment services department.
“They acted as if they didn’t really want to hear us,” said Brandon of how the Board responded to the final report. “Their body language told us to hurry and finish. They even cut off the man from Jobs with Justice [Marty]. They didn’t want to hear it and you could tell.”
For Brandon, David, and the other workers who attended the Board meeting, the ask of MGH management is simple: review the Workers’ Rights Board’s findings and recommendations and work with them to get the hospital back to the patient and worker friendly place it has been in the past. “I just want the Board to sit down and really analyze what’s going on, and see how they can help the employees who are working on the frontlines,” said David.
The North Bay Workers’ Rights Board’s final report includes eight findings and corresponding recommendations, which can be read in full here: http://bit.ly/2sLiT0P.