HCDCC Backs the NUHW Against St. Joe

As it should.  Verbatim from the press release and e-mailed to HCDCC members…
EUREKA. The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) recently passed a Resolution supporting the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in their negotiations with St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County. St. Joseph Heath, Humboldt County represents St. Joseph Hospital (Eureka) and Redwood Memorial Hospital (Fortuna) and is the county’s largest private sector employer. Along with bargaining for a living wage and decent benefits, the NUHW is also seeking an end to alleged consistent understaffing that the NUHW asserts hurts patients by reducing timely access to care while forcing workers to work long hours, miss breaks or lunches and ultimately impacts the quality of care patients receive.The HCDCC supports the efforts of the St, Joseph Health, Humboldt County workers to gain respect and dignity in the form of proper staffing, living wages and decent benefits.

Here is the resolution itself.

Resolution Supporting the Workers of St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County in their Fight to Improve Conditions for Worker and Patient Dignity at St. Joseph Hospital (Eureka) and Redwood Memorial Hospital

Whereas we believe that everyone has a right to live in a community, state, and country that enables all to exercise their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

Whereas we believe that it is the duty of our democracy to ensure that jobs provide a living wage;

Whereas we believe that everyone has the right to affordable health care;

Whereas our county’s largest private sector employer, St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County (SJH Humboldt County) fails to provide a living wage, as documented in the National Union of Healthcare Workers May 2015 report Uncompensated Care;

Whereas many employees of SJH Humboldt County struggle to pay for basic life necessities for themselves and their families and qualify for taxpayer-funded safety net programs such as food stamps and Medi-Cal;

Whereas in October 2014, hundreds of SJH Humboldt County workers suffered a unilateral cut to benefits; Whereas SJH Humboldt County reported almost $100 million in profits from January 2010 to December 2014 *;

Whereas in 2013 SJH Humboldt County enjoyed savings of an estimated $11.5 million in corporate income and property tax exemptions*, while in 2013, according to the California Nurses Association (CNA) report Falling from Grace, keeping almost $60 million stashed in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands;

Whereas St. Joseph Health System spends 30% less than the average California Catholic hospital on charity care, according to the CNA;

Whereas consistent understaffing at St. Joseph Hospital (Eureka) and Redwood Memorial Hospital forces workers to work long hours, miss breaks or lunches, and forgo providing proper patient care;

Whereas that consistent understaffing hurts patients by reducing timely access to care or even preventing patients from receiving proper care;

Whereas St. Joseph Health has as their stated core values ‘Dignity, Service, Excellence, and Justice’, yet those values are not being upheld as SJH Humboldt County imposes poverty compensation and working conditions;

Whereas low level of compensation and hospital staffing negatively impacts patient safety, taxpayer costs, and public health; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) supports the efforts of the St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County (SJH Humboldt) workers to gain respect 
and dignity in the form of proper staffing, living wages, and decent benefits.

*Referenced in the National Union of Healthcare Workers May 2015 report Uncompensated Care



Uncompensated Care:  How St. Joseph’s Low Wages Leave Caregivers Behind (May 2015, National Union of Healthcare Workers)

Falling From Grace: St. Joseph Health RNs Raise Ethical and Patient Care Concerns (August 2015, California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United and St. Joseph Health RNs)

St. Joseph Health – Falling From Grace




9 thoughts on “HCDCC Backs the NUHW Against St. Joe

  1. nothanks says:

    I find it very hard to believe St Joseph’s has made 100 million in Humboldt county in the past four years. I had a friend in the finance dept, and from what I heard, they are usually losing their ass up here because of the high # of Medicare/medi-cal patients and relatively low # of people with “good insurance”. Citation please, on your financials (other than the union figures).

  2. thanks nothanks.

    A couple of questions. How reflective of actual income and more importantly, wealth is a US income tax form? The tax form is not the first place I’d go if, say, I was wondering where to invest money.

    Have you seen St. Joe’s new palace-of-healing? That cost some change. There was a decision made that a fancy hospital is worthy of capital infusion, but ongoing maintenance costs in the form of human labor needs to be minimized.

    Finally, those darn elderly and low income people (which may btw include some employees paid the same amount at any other business) who depend on Medicare and Medi-Cal. What is to be done about them? Would St. Joe rather not be the carer-er of last resort and just care for those with “good” insurance.

    I for one would be in favor of bringing back General Hospital if that is the case. But that is not what St. Joe or any company that has a monopoly wants. They worked hard for that monopoly status.

    But I do love that those advocating for a Catholic institution decry those with “bad” insurance. Jesus would have wanted us to care for only those with good insurance and pay the workers as low a wage possible so that his institutions not only could stay afloat, but they could build healing palaces which would offer first rate service to those with good insurance.

    The problem of non-living wages and income and wealth disparity is not going away. We need to solve this and it starts with paying working people a living wage. Even in the service and retail economies because if you haven’t noticed, that is all we have left.

  3. nothanks says:

    Well, the first place you go to see if an organization is making money is the tax form. You ever get a loan? Yeah, the banks want to see your W2 and tax return.

    I’m not for or against St joes, just pointing out they are losing money. And if you are investing, certainly the income plays into your decisions. Would you buy stock in St Joe’s with those financials? I wouldn’t.

    My buddy isn’t Catholic, just a bean counter. The problem apparently is that Medicare and medi-cal pay less than many of the services actually cost the hospital – according to my agnostic bean counter friend – and we have a higher rate of those folks in our population than their other hospitals, like the one in Santa Rosa. No judgement, just an observation.

    He wasn’t decrying those with bad insurance, just a person who gets paid to put numbers in and make reports out. I know this doesn’t fit your narrative, but when I saw the hcdcc saying they made 100 mil, I almost spit my coffee out yesterday laughing. They’re always begging for money for one thing or another.

  4. “My buddy isn’t Catholic, just a bean counter.”

    But St. Joe’s is a Catholic institution and it should be beholden not just to the advice of a bean counter but the guidance of Jesus. Right? I’m agnostic so I’m not make a theological argument. I am making an ethical argument though and something seems off here. I’m only 1/2 way though one of these reports, and they make this quite clear throughout.

    St. Joe’s is no longer the institution the Sisters of Orange founded. It’s a business entity. As such, should we as a community start wondering if they have our best interests at heart or theirs? It’s not like we have any choices now with St. Joe’s as the carer-of-last-resort here in town.

    Bean counters have a way of hiding money. It’s one of their jobs. I wouldn’t always trust them over your own eyes. Please do drive by St. Joe’s Hospital if you haven’t in the last 4 years. It is an amazing change from what was there 7 years ago.

    Good for them and us. But we do want to make sure the palaces and high salaries for administrators and even doctors don’t expropriate money that needs to also pay for the less prestigious jobs.

    I’m glad you ultimately didn’t spit out that coffee. That’s sacrilege! Please, please read this blog with more caution going forward.

    Regarding taxes and investments: Exxonmobil made 15.1 billion and paid $110 million in taxes. Again, the tax forms would be the last place I’d look before investing. Income has a way of disappearing and expenses appearing when bean counters are involved. Common, you know this.


  5. nothanks says:

    I looked at all the years. Losses all the way through. My buddy doesn’t hide monery, just tells them where its going. They don’t move money around, it isn’t Enron.

    No comment on the Catholic mission, I don’t agree with it, but let’s at least be honest about their finances.

    Yes, income disappears, its called wages, materials, research… Come on, you think these aren’t real expenses? They have shareholders that will sue the shit out of them if they see any shenanigans going on where profits are hidden. It devalues the stock, and cuts the shareholders out of their rightful share of the profits.

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