Mountain View Voice

News - October 29, 2010

Majority of layoffs avoided at El Camino

Negotiations between unions, hospital management will save jobs

by Nick Veronin

The majority of El Camino Hospital employees who had expected to be out of work next month, the result of proposed layoffs, will remain on the job, thanks to negotiations between unions and management. A reorganization will shuffle workers around instead of letting them go.

The negotiations began shortly after El Camino announced on Aug. 12 that it would be laying off approximately 140 employees, citing the slumping economy and shrinking patient volumes. The hospital's two labor organizations — the Service Employees International Union and Professional Resource for Nurses — began working with El Camino administration in an effort to keep their members employed, representatives from each union said.

Those efforts have been largely successful, according to Velvet Hazard, an SEIU representative. Hazard said all 119 service workers who received notices that they might be laid off will remain working for the hospital. "I'm happy with where we ended up," she said.

"Considering the fact that I was on the list myself, I was very happy," said Nicole Bryand, a member of the SEIU.

Bryand said that negotiations between her union and El Camino administration went very smoothly. "Management really went out of their way to try to avoid the layoffs as much as possible. Ultimately, instead of laying off, they reorganized."

Bryand explained that while some departments in the hospital were overstaffed, others were understaffed, and many employees simply left their prior position for another.

Patricia Briggs, president of Professional Resources for Nurses, said 16 members of her union voluntarily resigned. The rest of the nurses who were notified that they might lose their jobs will remain as nurses within the hospital. Some have moved to other positions and reduced their weekly hours.

Briggs said she was pleased that the nurses who wished to stay at El Camino were able to do so. "There was a great deal of respect for the nurses in a difficult situation," she said.

Neither union made concessions on pay or benefits.

Other hospital employees not represented by the SEIU or PRN have been or will be let go, however, said hospital spokeswoman Chris Ernst.

Ernst said El Camino is pleased with the number of employees that were able to stay on board at the hospital.

Comments

Posted by Reader, a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I don't think management went out of its way at all. If management had been honest with employees up front a year ago and given them a choice to take cuts or not, no one would have been axed. Instead, there are still high-priced consultants running the hospital and an over-abundance of executives and managers which do not have to be there. The new benefits package really stinks too.


Posted by one who cares, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 8, 2010 at 5:59 am

The enviroment of care is supposed to be a top priority but in reality it is not. when management becomes aware of a problem, there is in many cases no follow through.


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