CATHOLIC HEALTHCARE WEST: Slapped with Union Suit
A "long-simmering labor dispute" at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood erupted into a lawsuit Thursday, as union leaders sued Catholic Healthcare West for allegedly using federal Medicare and Medi-Cal funds for anti-union activities, the Los Angeles Times reports. The lawsuit, brought by the Service Employees International Union and the California Congress of Seniors, charges that the medical center and its parent company "paid consultants, attorneys and staff members to fight organizing efforts, then included those costs in billings for patients reimbursements" (Cleeland, 5/21). "Instead of caring for patients, employees are held in meetings by their supervisors, one-on-one or in groups for an hour or more," said Davis Bullock, president of SEIU's Local 399 in Los Angeles. The hospital has objected to the unionization efforts of its staff members -- except registered nurses -- for 19 months. The suit, which claims that Catholic Healthcare West violated Social Security laws and the state's fair business practice laws, seeks a court order "requiring the corporation to account for and disclose any Medicare and Medi-Cal funds that were used in anti- union activities." CHW had no comment on the suit (AP/Capitol Alert, 5/23).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.