Are you a health worker on strike? I would love to hear about your experience. contact of World Socialist Website Health Worker Newsletter today.
More than 300 nurses, respiratory therapists and radiologists at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey are on strike for the third week. Workers are fighting valiantly against inadequate wages, understaffing, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and inadequate medical benefits.
These are the same basic problems that healthcare workers around the world are battling. In northwestern Germany, nurses have launched her four-week strike across the region. In the United States, her EMS workers in New York City and nurses in Buffalo, New York, Michigan, California, and Minnesota are engaged in similar battles.
Better working and living conditions are not the only thing the health workers at St. Michael’s are fighting for. Workers are opposing a profit-driven healthcare system that contributed to mass deaths and illnesses during the pandemic.
Over the past two-and-a-half years, health workers have seen firsthand the failure of the ruling class to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2. They have witnessed the preventable deaths of more than one million Americans, including hundreds of their colleagues. Understaffing, overwork, and lack of PPE contribute to the high mortality rate and physical and psychological toll the pandemic has taken on healthcare workers.
Recently, the profession has been shaken by a series of disturbing suicides by healthcare workers. A staggering 90% of nurses are considering leaving the profession due to burnout, stress, and other health concerns, according to a March 24, 2018 report. Healthcare IT news.
Led by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, billionaire and former Goldman Sachs executive, New Jersey is one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic. New Jersey’s official COVID death toll for him is 33,760. The state has her seventh-highest per capita pandemic-related deaths in the country, according to Worldmeter. An estimated 600,000 people (out of a population of 8.9 million) are now suffering from her long-term COVID. These deaths and illnesses are a direct result of Democrats’ conscious subordination of public health to banking and corporate interests.
St. Michael’s Medical Center exemplifies this criminal practice of healthcare being subservient to self-interest. The hospital is owned by Prime Healthcare, which employs his 50,000 people nationwide. The company’s CEO, Prem Reddy, is a billionaire and his executive median annual salary exceeds his $200,000.
The company and Reddy had to pay the U.S. Department of Justice $37.5 million in 2021 to settle allegations that it paid kickbacks to cardiologists in exchange for patient referrals. In 2018, he paid $65 million over allegations that the company knowingly filed false claims with Medicare.
Despite Medicare’s history of overbilling, the Ontario, California-based hospital system was still receiving about $600 million in COVID relief grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Now Prime is trying to implement austerity measures for workers at St. Michael’s Medical Center. With inflation above his 8%, proposing a 2% annual increase on a three-year contract would mean a significant reduction in real wages. Prime also wants to eliminate “tiered” raises, which are seniority-based raises paid on top of contractual raises. Additionally, the company aims to remove the ban on “floating” so that nurses can be placed in any department of the hospital, including departments in which they have never worked. The company’s overall proposal aims to maximize profits by keeping hospitals understaffed and workers underpaid, no matter what the cost of patient safety.
The AFL-CIO-affiliated Jersey Nurses Economic Security Organization (JNESO), which the striking Newark workers are affiliated with, offers no strategy for a serious fight. JNESO calls for a 6% annual salary increase during the three-year contract period, a condition that cannot keep up with inflation and means a drastic reduction in workers’ real wages.
In addition, JNESO has consciously isolated striking workers. He never asked other workers in Newark, one of the poorest metropolises in the country, to join and support the strike. The workers striking in St. Michaels have received no compensation for their strike from JNESO or the larger nursing unions, nor from her AFL-CIO in the state.
The struggle of St. Michael’s Workers will not succeed if left in the hands of JNESO. Trade unions have proven time and time again to subordinate themselves to the needs of their members in order to protect the interests of their employers.
Last month, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West launched a week-long strike at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on a concessionary deal that would not reduce nurses’ workloads or include inflation-matched pay increases. I finished it by imposing. Last week, the Minnesota Nurses Association told her to block a strike by her 15,000 nurses and instead plead with Democrats to pass health worker-safe staffing laws. However, hospitals routinely sidestep such powerless measures. This is as useless as the myriad labor-management “personnel committees” that always befall management.
Health workers critical from battle to protect former Tennessee nurse RaDonda Vaught, scapegoated by Vanderbilt University Medical Center for malpractice caused by unsafe staffing and other cost-cutting measures lessons can be drawn.
Tens of thousands of general nurses rallied to defend Vought, who was charged with manslaughter. This massive mobilization independently organized by general nurses on the slogan “We are all Ladonda” was a major factor in the judge’s decision not to sentence the former nurse to prison. By contrast, no medical union lifted a finger to defend Vought.
The campaign in defense of Vought and the increased hiring activity by health care workers show that Newark strike workers are strong allies in the United States and internationally. Connecting these struggles and leading them to victory requires new strategies for fighting new organizations.
at a recent online conference hosted by World Socialist Website Health Worker Newsletter, health workers across the country set up a steering committee, and all hospitals and workplaces had a general committee. Through these commissions, which are independent of unions, Democrats and Republicans, health workers can successfully fight victims and achieve better staffing, higher wages and safer working conditions. .
The struggle to win these demands cannot be hospital by hospital, or state by state. It cannot be done through bargaining or appeals to those in power who base their policies on creating benefits for the ultra-rich, rather than science or the social rights of workers. Healthcare workers must move away from war and the endless bailouts of Wall Street and fight for a radical redistribution of resources to healthcare, education, and other critical needs.
What is ultimately needed is a political struggle against the subordination of human life to the capitalist system and private interests, by a working class independent of both parties of the ruling class. This includes profiting from health care and establishing socialist health systems that ensure quality care for all.
Find out more about how to build a general committee by completing the form below.