By Erma Edera
The Ugnayang Nagkakaisang Manggagawa – UST Hospital (UNM-USTH) called the hospital management for its “unjust practices” and to respect workers’ dignity for patient safety on Wednesday.
“We challenge the UST Hospital management to sit with us in serious negotiations, in good faith and treat us as co-equal partners, who are entitled to a just share in the profits of a world class hospital we helped develop and grow. The fight for respect, integrity, and dignity of health workers is a fight for patient safety,” the union said in a statement.
UNM-USTH is a union of nurses, medical technologists, laboratory technicians and other staff at the UST Hospital.
The union also denied issuing a bomb threat or any other criminal or unlawful threat at the UST Hospital.
“Despite the worsening conditions at work that we have been experiencing, such as working long hours in violation of Department Order 182 for health workers, being understaffed and being charged training fees among others, never did it cross our minds to do personal harm to management representatives and the institution we love. Many of the staff studied and grew up at UST,” they said.
“It is in the interest of truth and honesty, which we value as a Union within an institution which shares these values with us that compelled us to come out in the open,” they added.
It can be recalled that the union has filed a notice of strike and conducted a strike vote on two separate occasions, where they gained an overwhelming support from more than 600 members.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) conducted a strike vote where at least 399 employees of USTH voted “Yes” to a strike referendum while only seven voted “No” on Feb. 11.
“We have exercised restraint, treated our management counterparts with respect and have followed the process set out by the Labor Code and our laws. We ask for the same. While the legal requirements to stage a workers’ strike have been put into place, the Union has not at this point conducted the strike,” the statement showed.
The union also claimed that DOLE has already conducted a labor inspection at the UST Hospital.
“Both the Union and [the USTH ] have been briefed about its results. Even as we wait for the compliance order, management should see the wisdom in complying immediately with general labor standards and occupational safety and health standards. We have not seen management act on these,” it added.