USC nurses to strike for 2 days

Citing concerns about staffing and patient safety, registered nurses at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles plan to strike July 13 and July 14, according to hospital and union statements.

The nurses — represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United — voted to authorize a strike in June and have provided notice to the hospital for the strike.

"We don't want to strike, but our patients' safety is jeopardized by chronic short staffing and the hospital's excessive reliance on outside contractors without the appropriate skill mix to provide safe care," Joshua Duarte, RN in the 5 West intensive care unit at Keck Hospital of USC, said in a news release. "USC needs to do better."

USC nurses have been in negotiations since November. The union said its members seek a contract that guarantees appropriately skilled nurses will be given priority over outside contractors, provides perioperative nurses appropriate rest periods between shifts, and provides rotation for nurses in infectious disease units to help address stress and improve nurse retention.

In a July 9 statement, Keck Medicine of USC expressed disappointment about the strike and emphasized its priority on the safety and well-being of patients and employees during the event. 

"Hospital and clinic operations remain open and fully staffed with doctors, nurses and all other clinical professionals, as we continue our commitment to exceptional patient care and safety," the health system said.

As a result of the strike decision, Keck Medicine has contracted for replacement nurses for a minimum of five days. This means union-represented nurses will not be scheduled to work for five days, beginning at 7 a.m. on July 13.

"Keck Medicine is positioned to provide excellent patient care throughout the CNA strike," the health system said. "Our full team of replacement nurses is exceptionally skilled to meet the needs of all patients and will work alongside Keck physicians and other clinical staff in caring for our patients during the strike."

Keck Medicine also said it has had a strong nursing recruitment year, including a new group starting in July, and is committed to protecting patients, staff and visitors, as evidenced by its recent fourth consecutive hospital safety grade "A" from The Leapfrog Group and state recognition.

The California Nurses Association has about 1,400 nurse members at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars