The following comes from an Oct. 10 story in the Los Angeles Times.
Escalating its battle with organized labor, Prime Healthcare Services Inc. reached a deal to acquire six nonprofit Catholic hospitals in California, including St. Vincent and St. Francis medical centers in Los Angeles County.
Under the agreement announced Friday by the Daughters of Charity Health System, Prime Healthcare said it would keep all six hospitals open and maintain their existing services, including emergency rooms and trauma centers, for at least five years.
For workers, Prime said it would take on nearly $300 million in pension liabilities for current and retired employees at the six hospitals, which have been struggling financially.
Prime, a for-profit chain based in Ontario, also said it would spend $150 million on capital improvements over three years and maintain most of the hospitals’ 7,600 jobs. Other financial terms weren’t disclosed.
The sale must now win approval from California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, and opponents are gearing up to defeat Prime’s bid.
The Service Employees International Union has been attacking the long-rumored deal for weeks, saying Prime puts profits ahead of patient care. The union has recruited state lawmakers and community groups to oppose the takeover and it plans to air TV ads urging Harris to reject the sale.
“We are not going to roll over and risk watching Prime Healthcare cut services, raise prices and lay off caregivers like they’ve done in so many other communities in California and other states,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.
SEIU has ongoing labor disputes with Prime. The union represents 3,700 members at the six Daughters of Charity hospitals and three Prime hospitals.
The sale includes St. Vincent Medical Center near downtown L.A. and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. Daughters of Charity is also shedding four Bay Area facilities: O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, Seton Medical Center in Daly City and Seton Coastside in Moss Beach.
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