California nurses move closer to strike

Registered nurses at Alhambra (Calif.) Hospital Medical Center voted for the option to strike.

The vote means nurses intend to call a strike if contract negotiations do not sufficiently move forward, according to the California Nurses Association, which represents the workers. It does not mean a strike will take place, as nurses would have to give the hospital proper notice.

Nurses unionized in January 2017 and have been in negotiations with the hospital for more than a year.

"As nurses, we want to be at the bedside, taking care of our patients, in conditions that are safe — for us, and for those in our care. Striking is always a last resort," said Farah Gerami, RN. "But we have been trying, for over a year now, to get management to address unsafe staffing, faulty equipment and other issues at the hospital that put our community at risk. If they continue to leave critical issues unaddressed, our nurses have now voted to stand strong, together, and do whatever it takes to keep our patients and our colleagues safe."

Hospital CEO Iris Lai  expressed disappointment about the strike authorization vote in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review. She also addressed the union's comments.

"For a year, we have bargained in good faith with CNA so that we can reach a collective bargaining agreement that meets the needs of all parties, and this action by the CNA is an unhelpful distraction," she said. "Moreover, the union’s stated reasons for striking are not stumbling blocks at the bargaining table. A strike does not serve anyone’s interests and distracts all parties involved from our main concern — patient safety and high quality care."

Still, Ms. Lai said the hospital is prepared for a strike and "confident that we will continue to serve our community as we have always done without interruption."

Both sides are expected to continue negotiations June 18.


More articles on human capital and risk:

Washington state nurses picket over staffing
University of Vermont Medical Center nurses to vote on strike
Bartlett Regional Hospital workers get pay hike in 3-year labor deal




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