Palomar Health nurses, caregivers plan strike

Registered nurses and caregivers at Palomar Health in Escondido and Poway, Calif., plan to strike on June 23, according to the unions that represent them.

The California Nurses Association, an affiliate of National Nurses United, represents about 1,300 registered nurses at Palomar Health hospitals. The Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union, an affiliate of CNA, represents about 1,700 ancillary caregivers. Only eligible union members voted on whether to strike.

Members of the unions announced they had issued a strike notice on June 13, days after voting on June 7 and 8 to authorize a walkout. 

Although negotiations have been ongoing for more than a year, Palomar Health has refused to bargain in good faith and failed to adequately address workers' concerns, the unions contend.

"They ignored our demands to make improvements for safe patient care. We can't provide the best care without a strong union contract that protects us and our patients, and attracts and retains excellent nurses and caregivers. After all that we have sacrificed during the height of the pandemic, we are disappointed by Palomar's treatment of nurses and caregivers," home health RN, Glynn Cascolan, said in a news release.

In a statement shared with Becker's, Palomar Health said the hospital district respects employees' rights to engage in protected concerted activity, but it hopes a strike is averted. 

"After more than eleven months of negotiating with the unions, Palomar Health's last, best and final economic offer in the hundreds of millions of dollars was rejected," the statement said. "To this day, Palomar Health remains ready and willing to have further discussions with the unions in an effort to find an agreement that is sustainable and provides competitive wages for our nurses and caregivers." 

Diane Hansen, president and CEO of Palomar Health, said, "Our world-class staff are excited about what is going on at Palomar Health and remain dedicated to their patients. We want our employees to know how much we value and support them regardless of actions that the union is taking that do not accurately reflect the opinions of all. We are going to remain focused on our primary mission, which is to provide San Diego County and the surrounding communities access to extraordinary healthcare and services."

The strike is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. PT June 23 and run through 6:59 a.m. PT June 24.


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