3,750 California nurses begin 3-day strike

The Registered Nurses Professional Association, which represents more than 3,750 nurses in Santa Clara County's health system in California, began a three-day strike April 2, citing concerns over working conditions and safety issues.

The strike is a first in the history of the union, according to an RNPA news release shared with Becker's

Union members said it "will have a major impact on Santa Clara County hospitals and clinics by shutting down most nonemergency and outpatient services. Emergency and essential services will still be available during the strike."

In a news release shared with Becker's, county officials said regular updates are available to the community on potential disruptions to patient care, and some nonurgent appointments may be postponed.

"Our health system has been working tirelessly to ensure that patient care is minimally affected by the RNPA strike, especially access to emergency and critical care services," County Executive James Williams said in the release. "We continue to invite RNPA back to the table so that we can reach a fair and sustainable contract for both sides and work together to continue providing quality healthcare for the community."

The strike follows nurses' vote to authorize a strike in February. Nurses have been in negotiations with the county since their last contract expired Oct. 29.

Union members contend that during negotiations, the county has failed to bargain in good faith around working conditions and safety issues affecting nurses and patient care. 

County officials said both sides have reached tentative agreements on key terms and priority areas for union members, including on workplace safety. The key issues that remain sticking points are overall wage increases, they said, as well as "the temporary assignment of staff from one location to another to better align with patient volumes and needs across the county's hospitals and clinics."

More information about negotiations is available here.

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