Backed by strong community support, Salud Para La Gente workers and community members protected vital services by filling the board of directors meeting and successfully halting layoffs of front line workers.
The board claimed a $200,000 monthly shortfall would force them to lay off 10 dental service workers and close the Elderday program, which provides about 100 seniors with medical services and meals.
Outside the board’s Nov. 26 meeting, nearly 200 Salud Para La Gente workers and supporters held a candlelight vigil for services while leaders addressed the board inside, calling for more transparency on why services must be cut.
“Management has not met with us in good faith to really find alternatives to layoffs and identify the true cause of this financial situation,” said Dr. Iris Haro, a dental provider and SEIU 521 member. “Salud is a vital organization to the community, and there is a lot at stake here. We are hoping that cooler heads prevail and thoroughly investigate this matter with all the necessary information.”
After hearing multiple testimonies from workers and community supporters, including Watsonville City Council members Felipe Hernandez and Daniel Dodge, and Executive Director for the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, Cesar Lara, the board decided to rescind layoffs!
“It’s heartening that the board at Salud Para La Gente rescinded these layoffs and recognized how critical to the community are the dental, medical, and elder care services that our members provide,” said Matt Nathanson, SEIU 521 Regional Vice-President. “We look forward to working in collaboration with Salud Para La Gente to find budget solutions that will protect and improve patient services.”
What’s next: We will begin meeting with the board to identify budget solutions that will protect our services, maintain Elderday, and improve patient care for our community. Stay tuned for updates.
In the media:
Watsonville crowd protests Salud’s proposed cuts to senior services, dental care
Mercury News – Nov. 26, 2012.
Elderday closure, dental program reduction delayed
Register-Pajaronian – Nov. 27, 2012.
Salud Para La Gente Board rejects Elderday, dental care cuts
Santa Cruz Sentinel – Nov. 27, 2012.