California nurses plan for potential 2nd strike of 2022

Nurses at AHMC Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., have voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike, according to the union that represents them.

The California Nurses Association represents 300 nurses at Seton. Its members are prepared to strike for a second time this year unless the hospital addresses what the union describes as critical and persistent patient care issues and the closure of vital services, according to a June 6 news release. The nurses went on strike in March.

"The last thing we want to do is strike. We love our patients, our hospital and our community, but AHMC has failed all of us and we need to call attention to these critical concerns before it is too late," Michelle Kubota, a registered nurse at Seton, said in the release.

Contract negotiations have been ongoing since December 2021. But nurses contend management is refusing to address nurses' patient safety, staffing and supply concerns. The union specifically cited the temporary closure of the hospital's behavioral health unit, as well as other issues it says have led to understaffing and what it calls a persistent lack of supplies including oxygen and surgery supplies.

However, the hospital has cited nurses' demand for higher wages as the central part of the labor dispute.

Seton "has made every effort to collectively reach a mutual agreement but due to economic and financial differences, Seton is unable to provide the wages that are being proposed by the California Nurses Association," Sarkis Vartanian, administrator of Seton, said in a statement shared with Becker's. Seton has been recovering financially since the hospital was saved from closing in 2020.

Mr. Vartanian also said Seton is undergoing a California-mandated seismic retrofit of its hospital building, built in 1963, which contributed to the temporary unit closure.

"Seton continues to provide and remain open for all acute, post-acute, emergency, cardiac and surgical services not only limited to inpatient care but also continues to keep all outpatient services open during the construction," he said. "Due to the nature of the behavioral health unit and the complex requirements, Seton was left with no choice but to temporarily close its behavioral health unit, located on the 8th floor of the hospital."

The unit is temporarily closed for about 120 days until the seismic retrofit of this floor is completed. 

The strike authorization vote does not mean a strike will occur. However, union members voted in favor of striking if necessary.

Copyright © 2022 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.

 

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars