Burlingame Healthcare Center Employees Protest Potential Job Losses at San Mateo County Offices
A number of employees at the 281-bed Burlingame Healthcare Center on Wednesday protested outside San Mateo County offices a decision by the county, which will assume control of the nursing home by the end of October, to require them to take a civil service examination to retain their jobs at Burlingame, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Koury, San Jose Mercury News, 10/2). Under an agreement reached in June, the county will make Burlingame part of the San Mateo Medical Center, the county public hospital. The county will pay Burlingame property owner Vince Muzzi $58,000 per month in rent for the first year and $110,000 per month in subsequent years, according to Assistant County Manager Paul Scannell; the lease could last between two-and-a-half and 20 years (California Healthline, 6/26). The county required the 160 current employees to take a civil service exam and reapply for their jobs; about 40 Burlingame employees failed or earned low scores on the exam and may lose their jobs as a result, according to officials at Service Employees International Union Local 250, which represents 160 employees at the nursing home (San Jose Mercury News, 10/2). Union officials said that many of the employees failed the exam because of language barriers (Sherbert, San Mateo County Times, 10/2). However, San Mateo County officials said they must adhere to county rules that require county employees to pass a civil service exam. County Supervisor Jerry Hill also said that the county cannot afford to retain all current Burlingame employees because only 125 of the beds at the nursing home are filled. SEIU Local 250 plans to appeal the potential job losses for Burlingame employees on Thursday at a hearing of the county Civil Service Commission, which will resolve individual claims of discrimination filed by the employees (San Jose Mercury News, 10/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.