Letter to CPMC CEO & Sutter VP of Nursing

August 19, 2010

To: Warren Browner, CPMC CEO and Diana Karner, Sutter West Bay Vice President of Nursing
RE: Community Complaint vs. Sutter-CPMC Discrimination against Filipino Registered Nurses

Today, Filipino community groups and the California Nurses Association (CNA) filed a complaint with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission to shed light on an apparent pattern of discrimination by Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). We, the undersigned church, community groups and leaders, are deeply concerned that Sutter Health’s CPMC has a practice of discrimination against hiring Filipino Registered Nurses.

Representatives of CNA and nurses from St. Luke’s Hospital, part of the Sutter CPMC system, recently shared with us their concerns about unequal treatment of Filipino RNs. Three former CPMC nurse managers have made written statements that the Sutter West Bay Vice President of Nursing Diana Karner specifically directed them not to hire Filipino or foreign graduate nurses. We have also met with a Filipina RN who applied for a nursing job, but was told there were no positions, while white nurses were hired.

Based on hiring patterns at St Luke’s, these directives from Diana Karner appear to have begun around February 2008. While approximately 65% of St Luke’s RNs hired before 2008 were Filipino, only 10% of those hired after February 2008 were Filipino.

Additionally, we are alarmed that CPMC continues to pay lower wages to the majority Filipino nursing staff at St Luke’s despite the fact that they do the same work as other CPMC RNs in San Francisco. At the same time, CPMC has already taken away several benefits won by nurses at St Luke’s over the years that were better than what CPMC provided elsewhere. These include better retiree health and vacation benefits. All this has occurred while CPMC proposes to downsize services at St Luke’s, a hospital that serves our community concentrated in the Excelsior and SOMA neighborhoods of San Francisco. We strongly suspect that others in the community will come forward as they learn of the courageous efforts of the nurse managers and others outraged by the discriminatory hiring directives targeting Filipinos.

Across America Filipinos are well-represented in healthcare industry jobs, exceeding 10% (and in some areas 30%) of the health care workforce, but too often we continue to face discrimination at work. From language discrimination to labor trafficking, Filipino nurses in the United States have been unjustly fired, denied jobs, receive lower pay and benefits, are overworked, abused and exploited because of blatant discrimination based on race and national origin. The recent case of 4 Filipina nurses illegally terminated this year for speaking their native language at a hospital in Maryland is just one example of the injustice that healthcare professionals in our community regularly face. As a community we stood up against such actions to ensure that an atmosphere of discrimination against Filipino health professionals does not take root.

Sutter Health employs hundreds of highly qualified and well-trained Filipino nurses and other health professionals and serves the Filipino community of more than 420,000 across Northern California. We call upon Sutter Health to stand with us against racial and national origin discrimination, both in policy and in practice.

As representatives of thousands of Filipino community members and health professionals, we propose the following remedies:

• We urge the SF Human Rights Commission (HRC) to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation of the apparent pattern and practice of discrimination by Sutter CPMC against Filipino Registered Nurses.
• We request Sutter CPMC’s full and prompt cooperation with the HRC investigation.
• We demand a meeting with CPMC CEO Warren Browner and Vice President Diana Karner within one month to discuss discrimination against Filipino RNs and specifically the alleged discriminatory hiring directives by Vice President Karner.
• We further demand that CPMC publicly renounce this discriminatory practice and issue a public apology to Filipino nurses and the Filipino community.
• Lastly, we demand that CPMC provide equal opportunities and treatment for all job applicants regardless of race, national origin or any other protected status.

We also ask that CPMC work with us to ensure that permanent job opportunities and healthcare access for the community are incorporated into CPMC’s future plans as Sutter CPMC seeks to rebuild its hospitals in San Francisco.


Terrence Valen, Organizational Director
Filipino Community Center (FCC), San Francisco
Lillian Galedo, Executive Director
Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ), Oakland
Zenei Cortez, Co-President
California Nurses Association (CNA)
Philippine Nurses Association, Inc. (PNA)
Stephanie Sayo, Regional Coordinator
National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, Northern California (NAFCON-NorCal)
Reverend Israel Alvaran, Interfaith Organizer
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of California (CLUE-CA)
Reverend Dante Tangonan, Pastor
Geneva Avenue United Methodist Church, San Francisco
Tina Shauf and Bean Rabino, Co-Chairs
Babae, San Francisco
Rachel Redondiez, Chairwoman
Angelica Cabande, Organizational Director
South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN), San Francisco
Bernadette Herrera, Organizer
Samahan ng mga Kababaihan (SAMAKA), San Francisco
Mara Ibarra, Executive Director
Filipino Community Support (FOCUS), San Jose
Dazeo Lamparas
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), San Francisco Chapter
Lourdes Tancinco, Esq., Board President
Veterans Equity Center (VEC), San Francisco
Luisa Antonio, Executive Director
Veterans Equity Center (VEC), San Francisco
Lyra Ibarra, Coordinator
Active Leadership to Advance the Youth (ALAY), San Francisco
Ryan Leano, Secretary General
SanDiwa National Alliance of Filipino-American Youth
Katie Joaquin, Chair
Anakbayan East Bay (AB East Bay)
Joal Vargas, Program Coordinator
Kalayaan School for Equity (KSE), Daly City
Sheryl Carrillo-Abad, Board President
Liwanag Kultural Center (LKC), Daly City
Charles Ramilo, Organizational Director
Liwanag Kultural Center (LKC), Daly City
Jessica Antonio, Chairperson
League of Filipino Students, San Francisco State University (LFS-SFSU)
Roy Recio, President
Manilatown Heritage Foundation (MHF), San Francisco
Joe Julian, Ph.D., President
San Francisco Filipino American Democratic Club (SF-FADC)
Giuliana Milanese
Jobs with Justice (JwJ), San Francisco
Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA (BAYAN-USA)
Abenir Tumonong, Chair
Peoples’ Association of Workers & Immigrants (PAWIS), Oakland
Beth Byrne, Member At-Large
Young Workers United (YWU), San Francisco

Jeremias David, Social Chair
Stanford Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), Palo Alto*
Michael Tayag, Issues Chair
Stanford Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), Palo Alto*
Marienne Cuison
Filipino Student Association of UC Santa Cruz (FSA-UCSC), Santa Cruz*
Karen Muktayani Villanueva, RN, BSN; Executive Director
Center for Transformative Change (CXC), Berkeley*
Magdalena De Guzman, Executive Board Member,
United Educators of San Francisco*, San Francisco Labor Council*
* For Identification Purposes Only

Organizational Endorsements:
Kappa Psi Epsilon, San Francisco State University, San Francisco
Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), San Francisco
People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER) San Francisco

Cc: San Francisco Human Rights Commission, 25 Van Ness Ave., Room 800, San Francisco, CA 94102

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