In August, The California Nurses Association (CNA) filed a class-action grievance against Sacramento-based Sutter Health and the company’s California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, alleging that hospital managers refused to hire Filipino nurses. At the press conference, CNA provided testimony by former nursing supervisors at CPMC and nurses who have faced the discriminatory practices – and hiring data documenting the results. CPMC’s VP of Nursing: “You are not to hire any Filipinos” Chris Hanks, a former director of Critical Care Services at CPMC, said in a declaration that Karner (the Sutter West Bay Vice President of Nursing), told him on a number of occasions, “you are not to hire any Filipinos.” Another former nurse supervisor Ronald Villanueva said that he also heard Karner, tell another supervisor, “do not hire foreign graduate nurses” – an unambiguous reference to Filipinos. What were the reasons behind this unfair practice? CPMC believes that patients complain because ‘it is hard to understand them and be understood by them. Also, Filipinos are always related, or know each other. Stereotypes, it’s always a load of crap.
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. According to the Los Angeles Times on 8/19/10, these discriminatory practices stem from Sutter’s plans to cut services at St. Luke’s. “Sutter’s discriminatory practices against Filipino nurses is as much about denying job opportunities as it is about punishing unionized Filipina nurses at St. Luke’s who stood up to Sutter’s plans to cut services to our community,” said Lillian Galedo of the Oakland-based Filipino Advocates for Justice.
There is currently an online petition to campaign to defend Filipinos against discrimination and hold health management corporations accountable to community health and fair employment practices. Click here to sign the petition and stand together with the Filipino community on this issue.