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News of the Month – December 2023

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A December 12 picket by NUHW members at Seton Medical Center was covered byABC-7, KQED, Sing Tao, ABS-CBN, KRON-4, and CBS News. Workers were joined by community and elected leaders to inform the public that the hospital’s new owner, AHMC, has severely curtailed services at the hospital, while eliminating health benefits for workers and announcing its intention to cut 33 jobs at the safety-net hospital.

A December 6 picket by NUHW members at the Sutter Center for Psychiatry was covered by the Sacramento Bee, Capital Public Radio, ABC-10, Fox-40, and CBS-3.

The Los Angeles Times reports that to mitigate the state’s projected $68 billion deficit in the upcoming fiscal year, Governor Newsom is seeking “major reforms” to the plan next year to begin raising the statewide minimum wage for healthcare workers to $25 an hour. The changes, which would have to be approved by lawmakers next year, were “all part of an understanding” with labor leaders before he signed the bill, Newsom said. Newsom is expected to present his plan to close the budget gap to the Legislature next month.

No decision has been rendered yet after the culmination of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital bankruptcy hearing in early December following a trial spurred by opposition to the bankruptcy filing from NUHW. Judge Stephen L. Johnson will determine the hospital’s eligibility to receive bankruptcy protection, a decision expected to come on January 14, BenitoLink reported.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland is planning a $1.5 billion expansion. The project, reports San Francisco Business Times, will demolish two buildings that aren’t compliant with seismic regulations and build a new eight-story, 330,000-square-foot building. The facility will contain a new emergency department, larger operating rooms, and a behavioral health unit. The health system is financing the project through debt financing, philanthropy, state funds for pediatric healthcare, and cash. Construction will start in 2027 and wrap up in 2030.

Rising rates of suicide among older adults drove the number of such deaths to a historic high in the United States last year, even as suicide declined among youth, according to a report by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 49,000 people died by suicide in 2022 across the country, the highest tally recorded for the nation, according to federal figures. Elderly men were at especially high risk: Among men ages 75 and older, the suicide rate (43.7 deaths per 100,000) was roughly twice as high as for young males ages 15 to 24 (21.6 deaths per 100,000), Los Angeles Times reports.

ABC7 reports that more than $5 million has been awarded to 148 caregivers at Adat Shalom Residential Care for the Elderly in Tarzana who were victims of wage theft. The former employees, many of them immigrants from the Philippines, worked 24 hours a day in some instances and were paid at a range of $2.40 to $2.80 per hour with no overtime, no benefits, according to the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, which opened its investigation in 2017.

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