Hayward, CA – More than 50 nurses, healthcare workers and medical staff demonstrated in front of St. Rose Hospital to let the public know that St. Rose is safe, protects patients and staff from COVID-19, and is a safe and secure facility.
The nurses and healthcare workers criticized statements from the California Nurses Association (CNA) and National Nurses United (NNU) on Wednesday which claim the hospital is not doing enough to protect employees from workplace violence and not providing them enough PPE.
“We’re here to support our hospital,” said Catherine Garcia, a surgical technologist who has worked at the hospital for nearly two decades.
Other longtime nurses and health care workers like nurse Daljit Basi say the CNA/NNU union demonstrators are making misleading claims.
“We want to tell people we’re here for the community,” Basi said. “We use proper safety standards. I’ve never felt that I was unsafe.”
Erzena Castanares, a charge nurse at the hospital agreed. “I love our hospital,” she said. “Security is everywhere.” St. Rose spokesman Sam Singer said St. Rose Hospital “is proud of the health care services we provide the community. The safety and security of our patients and our staff is our only priority.” Ironically, the nurses’ union latest complaint is over workplace safety. The union put forward male nurse Anthony Ashley, a nurse accused of having thrown a visitor to the ground by the hospital. “St. Rose is not following its workplace violence prevention plan,” said Ashley, a nurse in St Rose’s emergency department. “We have unsafe working conditions, especially in the emergency department, where we do not have a dedicated security person and are chronically understaffed. I was assaulted by an angry visitor who arrived with a patient.”
Singer said a CNA/NNU nurse Ashley, unnecessarily instigated an altercation with a hospital visitor in November 2019. He said the incident was captured on security videotape showing Ashley throwing a hospital visitor to the ground. The hospital has disciplined Ashley for his unacceptable behavior, Singer said. The nurse and the union are contesting the disciplinary action.
The union has made a claim to Cal-OSHA on behalf of Ashley. A preliminary finding by Cal-OSHA cited the hospital for workplace safety issues, according to the CNA/NNU union. Singer said the claims made by the union are not supported by the facts. “St. Rose has effectively established, implemented, and maintained a workplace violence prevention plan. Cal/OSHA’s preliminary finding is contrary to the facts and not supported by the evidence or videotape. St. Rose will be appealing Cal/OSHA’s preliminary citation. St. Rose is confident we will prevail in our appeal after all of the evidence is reviewed and the video is seen,” Singer said. “We want to assure our patients, the community, and our staff that we support them 100 percent. Our safety measures meet or exceed requirements. We have worked with public health officials at the local and state level to put in place additional safety measures to ensure compliance by staff with coronavirus health directives,” Singer added.
St. Rose is a safety net hospital and serves some of the most underserved and deserving patients in Alameda County.
“The hospital has the strong support of the physicians and the vast majority of union healthcare workers at St. Rose who are dedicated to providing the best healthcare to patients. We want the public and patients to know that the claims made by a small group of union activists are either false or misleading and do not reflect reality,” Singer said.
Other hospital union nurses and healthcare workers came out and demonstrated their support by chanting “We Love St. Rose” and gathering in a counter protest to the CNA/NNU protest. The independent union members supported the hospital’s statements and debunked claims by the California Nurses Union and National Nurses United as untrue and part of a larger statewide effort by the union that has no bearing on reality at St. Rose.