Barton Memorial Hospital nurses to strike May 24

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

Nurses at Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., have scheduled a one-day strike for May 24 amid contract negotiations, the California Nurses Association announced.

The hospital has failed to negotiate in good faith, and hospital management won't work to retain experienced nurses and schedule enough staff to provide optimum patient care, union officials said in a news release.

"No one wants to go on strike. We want to be at the bedside taking care of our patients," said Kelli Teteak, RN. "I have worked at Barton for 18 years. This is where I get my care, and this is where my family gets care. But Barton has made it clear they don't want us to have a voice in patient care, and they are determined to bust the union."

Barton Memorial Hospital nurses voted to unionize in November 2017. Nurses and hospital management have been in contract talks since March 2018.

Both sides have agreed on some issues during negotiations, but they have not hashed out wages and benefits, according to SouthTahoeNOW.com.

Nurses threatened to strike Feb. 15, but the strike notice was withdrawn, and negotiations continued.

Mindi Befu, Barton Health's director of marketing, public relations and patient experience, told SouthTahoeNOW.com that the hospital has hired replacement workers from an agency to prepare for the May 24 strike. Since a five-day contract is required, she said, current nurses who strike would not be able to return to work until their next scheduled day on or after May 29.

"Since the last strike was withdrawn by CNA, we have met six times with the union, including four sessions with a federal mediator," said Ms. Befu. "Proposals were passed by both sides. Previously, we achieved 26 tentative agreements. We have yet to discuss wages and benefits, and are eager to discuss an economic package for our nurses.

"Unfortunately, this is delayed when the union asks our nurses to go on strike. Barton will continue to provide exceptional patient care during the strike. We've hired qualified replacement nurses who are specially trained for this type of work and will work alongside Barton staff and physicians."

The strike is set to begin at 7 a.m. and end at 6:59 a.m. May 25.

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