Thousands of RNs to Strike California Hospitals Thursday, Friday Over Safe Staffing, Patient Care Conditions, Health Care Cuts

From our friends at the National Nurses Union

In the real world, things only get better for ordinary people when ordinary people take collective action.  Things get better when we organize and stand up for our own and each others' rights. The National Nurses Union is standing up this week in California and around the country, fighting for safe staffing levels and health coverage for themselves.

Thousands of RNs to Strike California Hospitals Thursday, Friday Over Safe Staffing, Patient Care Conditions, Health Care Cuts

From our friends at the National Nurses Union

More than 5,000 registered nurses are set to strike this week at eight California hospitals with a particular focus of calling on hospitals to stop endangering patients by implementing safe staffing levels and taking steps to retain experienced RNs.

Management demands for cuts in health coverage for RNs and their families are also a major focus for nurses at many of the hospitals, especially RNs who work for the Sutter Health chain.

Strikes are scheduled to begin Thursday, April 30. RNs will strike for two days, April 30 and May 1 at Kaiser Permanente’s major Los Angeles Medical Center.

One-day walkouts are planned April 30 at five Sutter hospitals in Northern California in Auburn, Burlingame/San Mateo, Roseville, Santa Rosa, and Tracy. On Friday, May 1, RNs will be on strike for one-day two Providence Health Los Angeles hospitals, in Torrance and Santa Monica that are part of the Providence Health chain.

Hospital executives have threatened to prolong the dispute with punitive lockouts, preventing RNs from returning to work for several days after the short strikes.

At several other facilities, the major University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, Ca., and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia, contract agreements, or significant progress in contract talks, resulted in postponement of possible strikes

National Nurses United and its California affiliate, the California Nurses Association, are calling the strikes.

“Across the country, nurses are unified in insisting that hospitals improve RN staffing which far too often is compromising patient safety and other patient protections,” said NNU Co-President Karen Higgins, RN. Other issues at many of the hospitals include hospital demands for cuts in nurses’ health care and other policies that hurt the retention of experienced RNs.

Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center RNs will be protesting chronic short staffing at their hospital which they say regularly leads to delays in care, patients being held in the ER for hours or days at a time, increased risk of patient falls and accidents, and an inability of RNs to take needed meal and rest breaks because of inadequate staffing.

At the Sutter hospitals, nurses also cite persistent short staffing that puts patients at risk. Sutter is also demanding 130 reductions in health coverage for RNs and their families that would mean huge increases in out-of-pocket costs for ER care, lab work, diagnostic procedures and other care.

Providence RNs note that inadequate staffing and other patient care and economic concerns have contributed to a substantial loss of experienced RNs that undermines quality of care for patients.

  • Los Angeles Area Strike Locations, all picketing begins at 7 a.m.:
  • Los Angeles Medical Center (Kaiser Permanente). April 30, May 1. 4867 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles Ca. Rally at 12 noon, both days.
  • Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance, May 1. 4101 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA. Rally, 8 a.m.
  • Providence Saint John’s Health Center, May 1. 2121 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA. Rally, 8 a.m,

Northern California

  • Mills-Peninsula Health Services (Sutter), April 30. 1501 Trousdale Drive, Burlingame, CA and 100 S. San Mateo Drive, San Mateo, CA. Rally, Burlingame location, 12:30 p.m.
  • Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, April 30. 11815 Education Street, Auburn, CA. Rally, 1:30 p.m.
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center, April 30. One Medical Plaza Drive, Roseville, CA. Rally, 12 noon and 4 p.m.
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, April 30. 30 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, CA Rally, 12 noon.
  • Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, April 30. 1420 N. Tracy Boulevard, Tracy, CA. Rally, 12 noon.

What RNs are Saying

“We the nurses have been demanding more staffing for months but our desperate calls for help have fallen on deaf ears,” said Tinny Abogado, one of 1,100 RNs at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center. “The short staffing puts patients at risk through unwarranted delays in care. We will not remain silent when our patients are facing undue danger and lack of care because Kaiser won’t invest in improving staffing so that we can provide safe, quality care for our patients.”

“We’re fighting for patient safety, we’re fighting against unsafe staffing. We believe patients deserve better. I’m inspired by my colleagues who are willing to step up and take on the Sutter Health corporation in the name of safe patient care,” said Jennifer Barker Tilly, an emergency room RN, one of 1,000 RNs represented by CNA at Sutter Roseville.

“As the healthcare industry continues to change, the role of the RN remains the same, to advocate for our patients. We want patient safety regulations and protections added to our contract. Patients come first,” said Intensive Care Unit RN Heather Garrant, one of 700 RNs at Providence Health’s Little Company of Mary Torrance.

“Sutter is offering health care plans to the public that are better than what they are offering their own nurses. We need adequate health-care for ourselves and for our families along with staffing conditions that are safe. As it is, Sutter is trying to cut corners despite tremendous profits, but nurses deserve basic essentials, which, at the very least, consist of quality health coverage and safe staffing,” said Sutter Santa Rosa ER nurse Debra Bucculatto, one of 420 RNs at the hospital.

Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica is refusing to address critical patient safety concerns raised by the 520 RNs at the facility. “Turnover has been huge at this hospital because we as nurses don’t feel we can deliver the kind of patient care we need to,” said Liz Wade, a Labor and Delivery nurse. “The chronic short staffing, lack of break relief nurses and management’s refusal to respond seriously to our safety demands sends a bad message to RNs and the community.”

“Our willingness to strike shows that we will fight Sutter’s slash-and-burn agenda. As a nurse negotiator I am proud to stand with my fellow Mills-Peninsula RNs: united, determined, and strong,” said Chris Picard, Family Birth Center RN who is among 700 Mills-Peninsula RNs.

Media contacts:

  • General questions: Charles Idelson, 510-273-2246 or Martha Wallner, 510-273-2264

  • For Sutter hospitals: Joanne Jung, 510-703-4064

  • For Kaiser LAMC: David Johnson, 310-345-8237 or Roy Hong, 818-822-4318

  • For Providence hospitals: Desi Murray, 818-355-8314

Nurses are standing up. For much more information, visit the web site of the National Nurses Union at http://www.nationalnursesunited.org, and learn how you can stand up too.