Pro-Union Prayer Vigil Is Held at Hospital

Nearly 100 community leaders, clergy and health care workers gathered in the courtyard of St. Francis Medical Center on Wednesday to hold a prayer vigil in support of hospital staff members who are trying to organize a union, officials said.

Employees of St. Francis and RFK Medical Centers, both owned by Catholic Healthcare West, a large network of California hospitals, released a statement saying they wished to address concerns about "staffing, patient care, workloads and lack of training," among other things.

At the vigil, clergy prepared readings and led prayers, while workers provided testimony as to why they want to organize a union.

"I believe in the union because there needs to be change," said Carolin Plaza, a St. Francis administrative assistant. "We have to stop all this harassment we're getting from the managers," she said. "We don't have to take this."

Hospital management could not reached for comment.

In an opinion survey conducted by employees, 79% of respondents in three Southern California hospitals affiliated with the chain said they had observed a decline in the quality of patient care.

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