CPMC strike linked to new hospital

Who's paying for this again?

I stopped by the picket line outside Davies hospital and chatted with the members of Operating Engineers Local 39, who have been working without a contract since October, 2010 -- and I heard a story that ought to be part of the discussion over CPMC's plans to build a shiny new hospital on Cathedral Hill.

The striking engineers (who operate and maintain machinery and equipment at the hospitals) say the only remaining issue in the dispute is pay scale -- and the last, best offer that CPMC, a Sutter Health affiliate, has put on the table is lower than what Sutter pays members of the same union at other Bay Area hospitals. Why? According to Joseph Klein, Local 39 business rep, the CPMC negotiators were pretty specific:

"They told us they need the money to build their new hospital."

The CPMC negotiators, he said, "don't even question whether they can afford to pay us comparable salaries. They just say they want to spend the money on that project."

Wow -- that's the first time I've heard anything so detailed and specific about CPMC essentially using lower wages to help fund the Cathedral Hill medical palace. So I called Kathie Graham, spokesperson for CPMC, and asked her about it.

"The primary reason for our offer was that the wage we proposed was comparable to the raises that our other hospital workers got," she said.

Okay, but was the cost of the new hospital a factor? Actually, yes.

"The primary issue is equity," she said. "But do we have a billion-dollar rebuild that we have to fund? Yes. Because of the whole way health care is going -- and because we need to rebuild -- we have to be very careful stewards of our nonprofit dollars."

Both sides want to go back to the bargaining table, and I know labor talks are always complicated, and I hope it gets resolved quickly. But I think it's fair to say that all CMPC workers need to take a lesson here: It's going to be hard bargaining for quite some time to come.

And I hope the supervisors who are reviewing this consider where the construction money is coming from.




Rethink his position that the City can get a better deal out of CPMC? The money for the City shakedown has to come somewhere, looks like it is hurting the workers.

Nice jab at CPMC -calling the new hospital a "medical palace".

Posted by DNative on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

Ha ha... so true. When all the haggling and burden falls on the shoulders of workers, makes you sort of wonder who's interests the unions are there to protect? Hmmmm.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 06, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

This website really has all of the information and facts I wanted concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask.

Posted by Philadelphia window installation on Jan. 02, 2013 @ 9:09 am

Just to be clear, would the SFBG still oppose the hospital if it were a dirty new hospital instead of a "shiny" new one?

Posted by Greg on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

plan was for SFGH, they'd be hailing it as innovative and equitable.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

Sutter is a huge chain that is nonprofit only in name, that clears far more money than it spends every year and that provides only a fraction of the charity care that other, less well-off hospital groups do.

And Greg, you know I would be much happier if the hospital was a cheap piece of crap that looked like hell. Jeez, is that all you can find to talk about?

Posted by tim on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

I am talking about a comment that you took pains to make Tim.
If you hadn't made it, I wouldnt be talking about it. Jeez.

Posted by greg on Apr. 06, 2012 @ 7:01 am

I think you've got the idea of non-profit confused with something else. Like any other business, the hospital is inclined to make smart investments that benefits the care they provide. That means keeping some money to pay qualified doctors and maintain equipment.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 06, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

As a resident of San Francisco, it is so sad that the City is not embracing a $2 billion privately funded hospital that any city in the United States would kill for and probably subsidize in the tens of millions of dollars. I would not blame CPMC if they decided it was not worth all of the added cost and headache and relocated to Emeryville or Daly City where they would be welcomed with open arms.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

Considering housing price and how much operation this city runs, $2 billion is really nothing.

CPMC won't move out from SF because relocation would cost more and won't be "profitable" as much as the business in the city. CPMC is a big part of Sutter West Bay. Therefore moving anywhere would cause their internal competition, which won't help Sutter.

After all, this "not for profit" hospital runs to make money.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

It's just the SFBG and a few tired old NIMBY's who oppose everything making a lot of noise. The vast majority of people support it and it will get built.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

Exactly. Show me a SFBG article concerning CPMC that takes an objective point of view. Doesn't exist. They'll spin this deal every which way but fair. Probably because they're not getting a donation or something.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 06, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

for the Bay Guardian union busting.


Poor Tim Redmond, such a tragicomic soul.

Posted by matlock on Apr. 06, 2012 @ 6:51 am