SoCal nurses plan to strike at Christmas

Approximately 1600 nurses have announced their intention to strike December 23 through December 28. The registered nurses are employed at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside and West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in West Hills. All three hospitals are owned by Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).

The nurses, who are members are Service Employees International Union, are at odds with hospital management over the issue of staffing. The nurses claim that the hospitals are currently staffed at the bare minimum, which doesn’t allow time for good nursing care. The hospitals say they staff according to California state mandate, which calls for a 1:2 ratio in the intensive care, PACU and L&D units, a 1:4 ratio in ER, peds, telemetry and step-down units and a 1:5 ratio in med-surg.

Pay is an issue as well. The union has asked for a 4.5 percent annual increase and additional pay for greater education and training. The hospitals offered a 1.75 percent increase.

Hospital personnel have expressed disappointment with the proposed strike’s timing. Greg Angle, Los Robles president and CEO, told the Ventura County Star that he is “very, very disappointed…I think [the timing] was clearly intentional and meant to send a message.”

What do you think of the nurses’ plan to strike over the holidays?


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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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6 Responses to SoCal nurses plan to strike at Christmas

  1. I think this is ridiculous – whether it’s over Christmas or not (but especially since it’s over Christmas). In case these nurses haven’t heard, we’re still in a recession. I work for one of the largest hospital corporations in the country and they just announced that we will have no raises for 2011 (and we only received a 2% raise in 2010; reduced from incentive-based raises from 2-5% in previous years). Are any nurses from my organization striking?? No. We are lucky to have jobs at this point in the economy. I know many nursing students (who have now graduated); they put their famiy on the line to finance a second degree and are now unemployed (or severely underemployed). These guys and gals would kill for their jobs in California.

    No raises? Sounds like a good deal as opposed to a pay or benefit cut.

  2. A one-day strike by registered nurses and aides at five hospitals in Brooklyn and Queens ended after six hours yesterday when negotiators agreed on a tentative contract that among other things limits the nurse-patient ratio in hospitals. Johns Episcopal South Shore Division in Queens — said that administrators filled in for the striking nurses yesterday and that patient care was not affected. yesterday morning officials of Local 1199 which represents the 4 000 striking nurses and aides said the walkout was primarily about the quality of patient care.

  3. Norma R.N.

    I am mixed about this my husband who just graduated from nursing school is having a hard time finding employment our hospital are not giving out any raises for 2011 the recession has us by the strings of the administration. then again they are union and if they have a valid point I guess they are going to do what they have to do wether it’s the holiday time or not so i am in the middle on this one.

  4. nursewithwound

    It is about time nurses. Patients deserve better care without our licesnes being put at risk. Move to the Midwest we have a need for nurses everywhere. There are literallly nursing jobs everywhere. And it is ridiculous for hospitals not to give nurses a raise. I’d be finding another one to work for. I bet the administrators of that hospital received a raise. That hospital is some how in some way profitting and it is not fair to give to the worker bee’s who make the hospital proffit.

  5. Nick

    The “you should just be happy to have a job” argument is one that has been used to justify all sorts of employee mistreatment by management throughout all labor disputes. The coal mining companies in poor regions of the country know that their employees have limited employment options and so feel that less than humane working environments won’t be questioned. The labor side of the equation isn’t always justified in its actions either, but saying that people should just shut up and be happy doesn’t help anyone. These nurses probably have weighed their options extensively and come to the conclusion that a strike is the only way they can negotiate their position. I think it is sad that they have been pushed this far, and I hope the situation is resolved quickly. When management holds all the power in tough economic times, employees start losing more of their rights. Look at the rise in temporary, non-benefit positions in all industries.

  6. Angie

    It was probably the only way those nurses were able to spend Christmas with their family.
    If a nurse will allow the hospital to step on them like a door mat… bet your bottom the hospital with do it.