California nurses begin strike

Nurses at AHMC Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., are beginning a strike March 30, according to the hospital and the California Nurses Association.

The nurses say they are striking over what they describe as lack of staffing of nurses and ancillary staff, including nursing assistants and environmental services workers. They also allege the hospital is short on supplies, including gloves, syringes and gowns.

"Throughout the ongoing COVID pandemic, nurses have had to fight management for safe staffing," Michelle Kubota, a registered nurse at Seton, said in a March 25 news release. "We know that increasing patient loads leads to poorer outcomes for our patients and causes moral injury and distress in nurses. Our patients deserve better, and our communities deserve better."

But the hospital has cited nurses' demand for higher wages as the reason for the labor dispute, saying union leadership's current demands are "unrealistic and not feasible for the long-term needs of the community."

In a news release shared with Becker's, the hospital also said the strike will be disruptive and slow the financial recovery of the hospital, which was saved from closing in 2020.

"We are deeply disappointed that leaders of the California Nurses Association will disrupt our patients and our community with their call for a strike despite receiving fair compensation, staffing stabilization and rejecting a more-than-fair offer," Sarkis Vartanian, BSN, Seton administrator, said in the release.

The hospital said March 30 that it has "made all necessary patient and support nurse arrangements to ensure full safety" during the strike.

The strike is scheduled to begin March 30 and last one full day. The California Nurses Association represents 300 nurses at Seton.

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