San Diego County hospitals
Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa. Photo credit: Screen shot,

Healthcare workers at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa have voted to join SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, union officials announced this weekend.

The election took place Wednesday through Friday and covers 1,500 frontline workers at the facility, placing the Sharp Grossmont group among the largest number of workers at a California hospital to go union in a decade.

SEIU-UHW, based in Oakland, represents more than 100,000 healthcare workers statewide.

“This is a huge win for our patients and this community,” said Haba Serrano, who works in the hospital’s emergency department. “Workers here shouldn’t be struggling to provide housing and other basic necessities for our loved ones.”

“Now that we’re union, we’ll have a strong voice to ensure safe staffing levels, the best possible care for our patients, and good jobs at Sharp Grossmont so we can recruit and hold onto top-tier staff.”

The vote – 55% of workers supported joining SEIU-UHW – applies to a variety of healthcare job classes, including licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, respiratory care practitioners, pharmacy technicians, imaging assistants, certified phlebotomy technicians, healthcare partners, surgical technologists, unit clerks and other frontline workers.

This is the fourth group of healthcare workers in the San Diego area to join SEIU-UHW recently. Workers at three Fresenius dialysis clinics voted to join the union last month.

Union officials argued that healthcare workers at Sharp Grossmont have struggled with staffing shortages, safety concerns and below-market wages even as their jobs became more dangerous due to the pandemic.

Sharp accused the union of harassing employees prior to the vote and filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

“Numerous hospital employees voluntarily reported to management that union organizers have engaged in intimidating and threatening behaviors at employees’ homes and elsewhere related to the union’s effort to organize,” Sharp said.

The company, which operates seven hospitals in the region, said it expects the NLRB to investigate.

Updated at 7 a.m., Monday, Feb. 6, 2023