SEIU 721-Represented Healthcare Workers Ready to Strike for Public Health Secure Landmark Contract, Beating Back Most Severe Family Healthcare Premium Hikes and Securing Investment in Frontline Services
LOS ANGELES — Watts Health Center employees, who were gearing up for an historic Unfair Labor Practice strike to protect public health and patient safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reached a tentative agreement this evening, beating back the most severe proposed rate increases to family healthcare coverage and securing investment in the frontline health services they provide. Their impressive victory comes after months of on-the-ground organizing by frontline workers, patients, community leaders, and elected officials.
For over 50 years, Watts Health Center has been a cornerstone of the South LA community, providing life-saving care to the region’s most vulnerable low-income residents. When the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep through South Los Angeles neighborhoods, Watts workers were among the first on the frontlines providing testing and care to local residents.
At the same time, Watts management had initially proposed cutting employee sick time in half and raising the cost of family healthcare coverage, even as multiple novel coronavirus outbreaks spread throughout Watts Healthcare facilities. The grave threats faced by Watts workers and patients, paired with management’s all-out union-busting campaign of intimidation and surveillance, led workers to authorize an Unfair Labor Practice Strike just weeks ago with an unprecedented 100% Yes vote.
Their 11th-hour victory is a triumph for workers and patients alike. Watts Healthcare workers reflect the community they serve, with the workforce composed mostly of working-class black and brown women. Their steadfast commitment to community health is borne out of deep ties to the surrounding area, with many living and working in Watts for decades.
Workers will be joined at the rally Wednesday by labor, community, and clergy allies.
WHO: Watts Health Center workers, faith leaders, community members.
WHAT: Watts Health Center workers hold victory rally and press conference.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 12:00 PM
WHERE: 10300 Compton Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90002