Health Care workers, students and community leaders demanded a reversal of staffing cuts in a large-scale protest on Thursday. Here’s why.

By Ashley Ludwig (Patch Staff)

LAKE FOREST, CA — Earlier this year, the layoff of nearly 200 hospital workers was put into motion with layoffs taking effect starting Nov. 7. On Thursday, approximately 300 UC Health Workers along with students and community leaders picketed those layoffs at UC Irvine Medical Center to demand a reversal of those staffing cuts.

“The cuts have already eliminated as many as 175 jobs and led to work-reduction time for others,” said Todd Stenhouse, spokesperson for the University of California AFCME Union, Local 3299 chapter.

Many of those workers were classified as unit service coordinators, the people on the other end of a hospital’s call button according to Stenhouse.

Vanessa Garcia, a unit service coordinator with UCI for just over three years, was one of the 28 workers in her field who were laid off on Nov. 7.

“I was very sad to leave behind the patients, nurses and other staff members of UCI,” Garcia said. “The nurses have to focus on medications and everything else, and now they have to worry about the call out ringing as well. There are many patients who will have to wait for those calls to be answered.”

Garcia, whose mother is also a health unit coordinator of 22 years with UCI, said that her mother has just received a reduction in holiday hours.

“It takes a lot to support yourself in Orange County, to have a roof over your head,” she said. “With the Thanksgiving holiday coming, we aren’t looking for a big feast or presents at Christmas. We just want the hospital to have us back.”

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[Source]: Lake Forest Patch