Updated: May 12, 2021
The Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital has come into disfavor with local labor unions and protests have spread throughout the Southland. Protesters allege the healthcare provider has hired contractors in the past that do not provide healthcare benefits to their workers nor do they utilize an adequately skilled and trained workforce; a practice that workers fear will continue into their next project. At a council meeting last week, over 80 carpenters and their supporters gathered outside of Santa Clarita City Hall to voice their concerns to council members.
During the proceedings, members approved the Henry Mayo Specific Plan. The plan entails a parking garage expansion as well as the construction of a new inpatient facility.
According to protestors, the plan prospectus incorporates no mention of utilizing local labor or a skilled and trained workforce and no guarantee of fair wages or healthcare benefits for their workers, and that has workers up in arms.
"Mayo is going to use irresponsible contractors that do not provide healthcare benefits to their workers and families. How can you have construction workers building your hospital and they are not receiving healthcare benefits? That isn’t right. Mayo also uses labor that is unskilled because there is no state-approved apprenticeship program. In fact, Mayo emailed the local carpenters union for special ICRA [Infection Control Risk Assessment] training materials. We should have only the most skilled and trained local craftsman building this project. It’s an eight-story hospital; that should be a no-brainer,' one of the protest leaders, Jarred Langford said. He continued, 'the city council needs to hold Henry Mayo Hospital accountable to the community to ensure local labor standards are met. We want what’s best for the community."
During the proceedings, Mayo Hospital CEO Robert Seaver, doubled down on his commitment to not capitulate with the demands of the workers protesting outside. On the subject of the ongoing protests he said, “It is disgusting. It is a terrible reward for our warriors [healthcare workers] who fought the war [the COVID-19 pandemic].”
Langford stressed that labor leaders still welcome Mayo and the Council to the table in order to determine a way to come up with a plan that, "utilizes local labor, protects the workers and benefits the community. We support and respect the healthcare community un-equivocally and we expect the same in return."
"Until then, we aren't going anywhere." Langford said.