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Nurses strike. (Photo: Twitter)

Nurses Across California Go On Strike, Demand Better Working Conditions

Hospitals are urged to hire more staff to reduce risk to patients

By Katy Grimes, September 21, 2019 2:15 am

After a year of negotiations, registered nurses throughout California and 6,500 nationwide began a one-day strike Friday.

The strike is related to contract negotiations between the hospitals and union. They are joined by nurses in three other states including Arizona, Illinois and Florida.

They are demanding the hospitals hire more staff. Nurses are stating staffing shortages have added stress to their job which increases the chance of medical errors and other mistakes. Those on the picket lines said working conditions need to improve so they can take better care of the patients.

The California Nurses Association tweeted the following along with a video of nurses picketing at Desert Regional Medical Center on Friday, “Union RNs are on strike today urging management to invest in nursing staff. This will improve the recruitment and retention of experienced RNs, and ensure optimal patient care, say nurses!”

“We value our relationship with all our employees, and we are committed to resolving these contract negotiation,’ said Communication Director of Tenet Healthcare Todd Burke.

Negotiations have been ongoing but the nurses felt the one day strike was necessary to show solidarity and strength among the nursing community.

Nurses at the Desert Regional Medical Center began their strike at 7 a.m. Friday and will end at 6:59 a.m. Saturday. A rally was held at noon on campus.

Representatives from the association said Tenet owned hospitals have paid out more than $8 million in penalties to RN’s from 2016 to 2018. The penalties were for 140,000 missed meal breaks.

Burke told the California Globe, “Desert Regional Medical Center along with our 7 other hospitals in California are continuing to provide quality, compassionate patient care today.”  Burke assures patients and their family members, the hospital is fully operational.

“Patients and their loved ones can be assured that Desert Regional Medical Center is staffed with qualified and experienced replacement nurses as well as all of our other caregivers through the strike’s duration,” said Burke.  “We have been negotiating in good faith with the union to reach a new contract. We are disappointed that the union is taking this strike action, which in our view is not constructive or necessary.”

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