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Health

Hospital Workers At Menorah And Research Protest Cutbacks As HCA Reports $1.1B In Quarterly Profits

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Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR
Members of the SEIU bargaining committee chant slogans outside Menorah Medical Center on Wednesday.

SEIU workers say that despite HCA’s huge profits, frontline workers have been asked to take cuts in pay and benefits as they negotiate their next contract with HCA.

Hospital workers at Menorah and Research hospitals gathered Wednesday to protest cutbacks even as the hospitals’ parent company reported $1.1 billion in second-quarter profits.

About 20 nurses and other frontline workers held a press conference in front of Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park and then proceeded to Research Medical Center in Kansas City.

Both are owned by Nashville-based HCA Corp., the nation’s biggest for-profit hospital chain.

“It feels like they are slapping us in the face,” said Dian Allen, an environmental services worker at Menorah and a member of the Services Employee International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Workers in Kansas City.

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Carlos Moreno
Dian Allen, an environmental services worker and member of the SEIU bargaining committee, expresses her dismay with HCA over its contract negotiations with the union.

SEIU workers say that despite HCA’s huge profits, frontline workers have been asked to take cuts in pay and benefits as they negotiate their next contract with HCA.

“Today we call on HCA to care for its frontline workers the way that we care for our patients.

My coworkers and I have bravely served our patients and community during this pandemic,” said Margie Hoffa, a pharmacy buyer at Menorah. “It feels our hard work and dedication is not being acknowledged.”

HCA officials did not respond to a request for comment.

The protesters also noted that HCA collected $1.4 billion in coronavirus bailout funds.

“While we’re facing challenges like never before in regards to COVID-19, we should be coming together in our hospitals to make as many improvements as possible to support the frontline workers,” Allen said.

“We’ve got members inside these hospitals who are dying,” said Laura Barrett an SEIU campaign coordinator. “It’s not right.”

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Carlos Moreno
Protesters drive past Research Medical Center Wednesday afternoon after holding a press conference at Menorah Medical Center to complain about contract negotiations with HCA.

Barrett said the protesters comprised committee members of the local team bargaining with HCA on its upcoming contract. She said the bulk of SEIU workers have been busy doing double shifts and caring for their children, so not many were able to join in Wednesday’s demonstration.

“This pandemic is hitting workers very hard,” she added. “They are turning toward the union.”

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