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Nurses Accuse St. Luke's of Discriminating Against Filipinos
by jobert
Friday Aug 20th, 2010 12:02 AM
The California Nurses Association (CNA) held a press conference Thursday accusing Sutter Health's California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), which operates St. Luke's Hospital, of discriminating against Filipino nurses. The union filed a class action grievance on behalf of Filipino applicants denied jobs at the hospital and, along with Filipino community groups, filed a complaint asking the San Francisco Human Rights Commission to investigate the discrimination claims.

The California Nurses Association (CNA) held a press conference Thursday accusing Sutter Health's California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), which operates St. Luke's Hospital, of discriminating against Filipino nurses. The union filed a class action grievance on behalf of Filipino applicants denied jobs at the hospital and, along with Filipino community groups, filed a complaint asking the San Francisco Human Rights Commission to investigate the discrimination claims.

At the press conference, the union provided sworn declarations made by three former managers at CPMC. The declarations claimed that the hospital had instituted a policy against hiring Filipino and foreign-graduate nurses. One former manager reported that a CPMC executive repeatedly instructed him not to hire Filipinos, telling him, “The Filipinos are always related, or know each other and that's not good. You're not to hire them.” He also claimed that he was forced to resign after speaking out against the policy.

The union also presented data showing a precipitous decline in the hiring of Filipino nurses at St. Luke's. According to its figures, 66 percent of the nurses at St. Luke's were Filipino when CPMC took over operation of the hospital in 2007. After CPMC's takeover, 48 percent of newly hired nurses were Filipino. But beginning in 2008, after nurses successfully campaigned against CPMC's planned closure of St. Luke's, the number of Filipino new hires dropped to 10 percent.

Union and community leaders suggested that the decline in the hiring of Filipino registered nurses (RNs) is connected to their activism. “St. Luke's and CPMC RNs, many of them Filipino, have been outspoken in defense of their patients, and in opposition to Sutter and CPMC's plans to reduce services to the largely lower income, minority community depending on St. Luke's from SOMA to the Excelsior,” said CNA co-president Zenei Cortez in a statement. “Rather than respond to the concerns of the community, CPMC and Sutter have chosen instead to retaliate by carrying out a punitive, illegal and immoral campaign of discrimination. There can be no excuse for racial or ethnic discrimination. A hospital should be a center of therapeutic healing for patients, not a model of bigotry.”

Lillian Galedo, executive director of Filipino Advocates for Justice, said that Filipinos and other foreign-born nurses are critical to the American health care system. Galedo also said that health care jobs are among the most stable jobs in the Filipino community. “Sutter's discriminatory practices against Filipino nurses is as much about denying job opportunities as it is about punishing unionized Filipina nurses at St. Luke's who stood up to Sutter's plans to cut services to our community,” Galedo said.

The hospital denied the union's allegations and said that it does not collect information on the nationalities of its employees. It does keep data on race and says that the number of Asian nurses have actually risen in recent years, from 63 percent in 2007 to 66 percent today. “We pride ourselves on our diverse hiring policies an dour longstanding commitment to promoting equal opportunity employment,” said CPMC CEO Warren Browner. “The allegations of discrimination made by the California Nurses Association are dishonest and without merit.”
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not-so-saintly Lukes is a terrible hospitallocal residentThursday Aug 26th, 2010 8:26 PM