BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of health care workers at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank walked off the job Monday morning, kicking off a five-day strike over what they call unfair labor practices.
The work stoppage applies to non-nursing health care workers such as EMTs, lab technicians and other employees. The roughly 700 employees are represented by the SEIU United Healthcare Workers West union.
Workers began picketing outside the medical facility at 6 a.m. They say they're striking over under staffing, worker turnover and patient care concerns.
"We've been having these issues for a long time, even during COVID" one worker told Eyewitness News. "We've always been short-staffed, and people are tired and overworked. The management, after repeatedly going to them and telling them our issues, they never listen."
Workers say hospital management has not been bargaining in good faith. The union gave a 10-day notice before they decided to go on strike. Their last bargaining session was on Oct. 13. Their contracts expired back in August.
In a statement, St. Joseph said the hospital is well prepared for the strike and it should not impact their operations. They have contracted with replacement workers to fill in for striking union members.
Hospital officials say they've offered the union what they believe is a generous package with significant wage increases.
"The strike comes after months of negotiations between PSJMC and SEIU-UHW, where the hospital bargaining team proposed significant wage increases and contract enhancements - including a 24% increase in wages over a three-year contract and significant market wage adjustments for many jobs. Unfortunately, the union has offered unrealistic counterproposals in response and has chosen to strike instead of continuing contract negotiations," the statement read.
The hospital says it will return to the bargaining table as soon as the strike ends.