Hawaii Medical Center hit with labor charge
The Teamsters file a federal complaint over layoff notices at two former St. Francis hospitals
The Teamsters union has charged the Hawaii Medical Center with unfair labor practices regarding layoff notifications and procedures in a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board.
Hawaii Medical Center, the new owners of the former St. Francis hospitals, confirmed yesterday to the Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers Union, Local 996, that both union and nonunion employees across the board will receive layoff notices today. The NLRB complaint was filed Wednesday.
Officials of HMC repeatedly have declined this week to publicly acknowledge any layoffs were forthcoming, despite disclosing the planned action during employee meetings last week.
HMC is jointly owned by CHA LLC (previously known as the Cardiovascular Hospitals of America) and a 130-member Hawaii Physicians Group.
HMC is planning to lay off up to 10 percent, or 150 people, of its 1,500-member work force, according to people familiar with the situation.
Local 996 officials, who met for about an hour yesterday with HMC representatives, also filed a contractual grievance against HMC because the Teamsters contract stipulates that the employer must give its members 21 days notification of a layoff.
Teamsters President Ron Kozuma requested that HMC provide its audit reports for the last four years and also the layoff guidelines implemented during the last nurse's strike.
"HMC is saying it will have to close their doors in six months if they don't make these operational changes, yet they also stated that their multimillion-dollar renovation plans are still in place," Kozuma said. "We have to ask these questions not only on behalf of our membership, but also on behalf of the community."
Kozuma said the union is concerned that the company's plan to reduce the number of patient care technicians and nurse's aides will adversely affect patient care.
The Teamsters represents 500 members at Hawaii Medical Center West in Ewa Beach and Hawaii Medical Center East in Liliha. Those members include technicians, licensed practical nurses, housekeepers and dietary and maintenance workers.
The union said the company has agreed to hold additional meetings in the coming weeks.