Seton nurses in California plan 2-day strike

Nurses at AHMC Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., plan to strike June 22-23, according to the union that represents them.

The California Nurses Association represents 300 nurses at Seton. Its members issued a 10-day notice to the hospital June 12 to inform the hospital about the planned two-day strike, according to a union news release. If nurses strike as planned, it would be the second time they went on strike this year. The nurses went on strike in March.

"As the hospital administration has refused to respond to our concerns, we feel as if we have no other option than to strike," Michelle Kubota, a registered nurse in the medical surgical unit, said in the release. "The management at our hospital is failing our patients by failing to value and respect the nurses. We are working without proper supplies, without appropriate staff, and nurses are being asked to do two or more jobs at once."

Contract negotiations have been ongoing since December 2021. During negotiations, the union has also described what it called the closure of vital services, such as a behavioral health unit.

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 June 7 after union members authorized a strike. Seton has been recovering financially since the hospital was saved from closing in 2020.

Mr. Vartanian also said then that 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 until the seismic retrofit of this floor is completed. 

Becker's has reached out to Seton for a new statement and will update the article if one is received. 

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