Nurses who work at San Francisco’s public hospitals and clinics are suing the city, alleging facilities are understaffed and employees are required to complete overtime work without overtime pay, TV station KPIX reported.
The Service Employees International Union 1021, which represents nurses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and other public sites, filed the lawsuit Oct. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Union officials contend the city’s public healthcare facilities are systematically understaffed, which jeopardizes the safety of patients and nurses, according to KPIX. Additionally, nurses who work both per diem shifts and civil servant appointed positions aren’t receiving overtime pay when they work more than 80 hours in a pay period because overtime hours are being classified as per diem hours, according to the union.
“The city as usual is failing to do its due diligence, which is to provide adequate staffing so we can deliver service to all patients,” SEIU 1021 Region D Vice President Theresa Rutherford said at an Oct. 21 rally at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, the TV station reported. “This is happening [at] all the hospitals; it’s happening at San Francisco General, at Laguna Honda [Hospital], at the clinics, in the jails. This lawsuit is demanding that the city do the right thing.”
Overall, union officials claim about 90,000 hours of overtime work has gone unpaid.
According to the agreement between the city and union, hours worked in “excess of the regular or normal work day or week shall be designated as overtime.” The agreement says overtime will be paid to those required to work more than eight hours in a day or 80 hours per payroll period.
In response to the union’s lawsuit, a spokesperson for the San Francisco city attorney’s office told Becker’s: “The city values the tremendous work that nurses do throughout its public healthcare system, particularly during the pandemic. But we’re not going to litigate cases in the press. We’ll review this lawsuit and address is in court.”
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