Strike set at 4 Prime hospitals: 6 things to know

Members of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West are set to launch a strike Dec. 20 affecting four Prime Healthcare facilities in Southern California.

Six things to know about the strike and negotiations:

1. Approximately 1,800 front-line healthcare workers at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center, and Encino Hospital Medical Center are set to go on a seven-day strike over the Christmas holiday season, according to a union news release. 

2. The strike is slated to start at 7 a.m. on Dec. 20. Strike lines will run daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 20-22, according to the union. There will not be strike lines after Dec. 22, but the strike extends through the holiday with workers returning on Dec. 27.

3. The union said the strike is a "last resort after months of trying to address the facilities' long-standing issues of understaffing, worker turnover, and patient care concerns at the bargaining table. They have been met only by bad faith bargaining, and other unfair labor practices by Prime Healthcare management."

4. Union members, which include emergency room technicians, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, radiology technicians, medical assistants, respiratory technicians and others, voted to authorize a strike earlier this year. The union and Prime began negotiations in May.

5. Prime said in a statement shared with Becker's that the Ontario, Calif.-based organization continues to bargain in good faith with the union and that proposals have been delivered to the union "that would increase wages and provide a valuable healthcare plan, maintain important benefits, and be competitive with other hospitals in the market."

6. During the strike, hospitals will be staffed and open to care for all those in need, "and our commitment to providing high-quality care remains our top priority," Prime said. "We will be staffed with qualified temporary resources across our nursing and non-nursing departments, and we will maintain services and compliance with regulatory standards. As part of our preparations, we continue communicating with our area providers about our contingency plans."

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