By José Villarreal, founder of CHANGE Santa Clara County
Yesterday, I attended the Nurses Union Picket at Regional Medical Center from 2-5 pm. We had a great turn out, about 80 to 100 nurses came out and stood along the corner of Jackson and McKee Road with signs demanding the hospital listen to their plight.
HCA, the company that owns the hospital, has documented record profits during this pandemic, and yet is still making budget cuts to make even more profits. They have nurses on the frontlines working without the necessary Personal Protective Equipment and urging nurses to reuse their N95 mask, all of which is unsafe. The hospital is also applying for a government waiver that allows them to disregard the nurse to patient ratio, causing nurses to be constantly overwhelmed with patients. The most egregious cut that HCA has done is with the maternity ward from Regional Medical Center, stating that they do not have enough births to sustain the service at this location. The Eastside of San Jose has a population of over 250,000 people, and cutting this service hurts an already underprivileged community. This is a tragedy for the future mothers of the community, as it is the only hospital located on the Eastside.
Even though we had a great turnout, I felt that we were missing the needed support of the community. These nurses are frontline workers who deserve to be treated as heroes, and right now they have placed on the back burner. Next time a rally for the nurses presents itself, I hope more of the community shows up for them, just as how they show up for us every day during this pandemic.
José Villareal is the founder of the program CHANGE Santa Clara County, an organization inspired by the police brutality movements and the Black Lives Matter movement. CHANGE stands up for those that are unseen and unheard. You can find out more information here.