Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stop hiring Filipino nurses

Here’s how things work all too often in our "post-racial" society: one of California’s largest medical systems, Sutter Health/CPMC, has apparently enacted a ban on the hiring of Filipino registered nurses at a major San Francisco hospital.

The California Nurses Association, which is part of National Nurses United, today filed a demand for an investigation by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, as well as filed a class-action grievance on behalf of the nurses denied employment because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin. It is unknown how many Filipinos were turned away from Sutter’s St. Luke’s Hospital, but we will find out and demand restitution on their behalf.

Nearly 100 Filipino community members and their allies joined nurses this morning at a press conference to express their outrage at this stunning turn of events.

At the press conference, CNA provided testimony by former nursing supervisors at Sutter Health and its San Francisco affiliate and nurses who have faced the discriminatory practices – and hiring data documenting the results. Chris Hanks, a former director of Critical Care Services at CPMC, said in a declaration that Karner, told him point blank, on a number of occasions, "you are not to hire any Filipinos."

Another former nurse supervisor Ronald Villanueva said in a declaration that he also heard Karner tell another supervisor, "do not hire foreign graduate nurses" – an unambiguous reference to Filipinos.

The hiring data bears that out. A review by CNA of active employee lists provided by CPMC demonstrates that in early 2008 there was a major demographic shift among the nurses being hired at St Luke’s. Before February 2008, 65% of St Luke’s RNs were Filipino. After February 2008, only 10% of RNs hired were Filipino.

These are stunning figures. And there is only one possible excuse: retaliation. On or around February of 2008, the nurses of St. Luke’s secured a major political victory, in forcing the hospital chain to keep their facility open, and to continue serving the medically-indigent patients who rely upon it. These Filipino nurses showed solidarity, and saved their hospital. Sutter’s response? Stop hiring Filipino nurses.


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