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Tri-City frontline workers protest possible outsourcing

REGION — Tri-City Medical Center therapists, technicians and nutritionists rallied outside a fundraiser dinner for the hospital held at Aviara Resort in Carlsbad on Nov. 7, to alert the public to high salaries top executives receive, and possible outsourcing of workers.

Hospital frontline workers have been at an impasse in contract negotiations since their previous contracted ended in April.

Jorge Bravo, a housekeeper at Tri-City Medical Center, said workers’ concerns are not about more money, but about providing quality patient care. Bravo said the $1.7 million used to pay the hospital’s top five executives’ salaries could be better spent to hire more staff.

He also expressed concern about possible outsourcing and layoffs, and the impact it would have on patient care.

“It’s already hard on the patients, already,” Bravo said. “If they do layoffs we are going to be short staffed. There are employees, ACTs, taking care of 18 patients. Is that safe? No, that’s not safe. We just want to provide better services, that’s all it is. We want to help everybody.”

Bravo added outsourcing workers will create a high employee turnover and constant new employee learning curve that will further slow down service to patients.

Oceanside Councilwoman Esther Sanchez stood with workers at last Saturday’s rally.

“They don’t want more money, they just want stability,” Sanchez said. “It’s about health and safety of the community. Patients deserve the best care.”

Sean Wherley, media relations for SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, said there is a possibility 25 percent of hospital frontline workers may be outsourced per year for the next three years.

“It’s clearly designed to cut costs,” Wherley said. “There’s attention around this issue because it undermines patient care.”

David Bennett, Tri-City chief marketing officer, had no comment on ongoing contract negotiations, but did confirm outsourcing jobs is not going to happen.

“That’s correct, there’s no intention of ever outsourcing work,” Bennett said.

In response to claims of high salaries for top executives, Bennett said all salaries are kept at competitive rates “executive or not.”

Employees said the language to outsource workers is in contract drafts, and doing so will lower the quality of patient care.

Hospital workers also sponsored a $4,000 table at the fundraiser dinner, to have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with hospital donors about their concerns.

Wherley added a community poll conducted last month shows strong voter support for putting an initiative on the ballot to cap hospital executives’ compensation at $250,000 annually, and publish the top 10 salaries. Tri-City CEO Tim Moran currently earns $525,000 a year.

Tri-City Medical Center is a publicly funded health care provider.

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