100s of US Nurses Threatening to Strike Over Hospital and Pandemic Concerns

Hundreds of nurses in several states are threatening to strike over hospital conditions and pandemic concerns.

CALIFORNIA

Over 800 nurses who work in San Joaquin County’s health system in California have agreed to delay a strike that was set to start on Feb. 27.

The nurses, who work at San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, Calif., and in public health and county jails and clinics, were set to from Feb. 27 to March 2 at the hospital and county administration building.   

However, the San Joaquin County board of supervisors has authorized county administrators to offer nurses represented by the California Nurses Association a one-time payment of $1.2 million as a sign of good faith to avoid a possible strike, Tom Patti, chair of the board of supervisors, said in a Feb. 22 statement.

Patti said this strike delay allows for a 45-day cooling-off period to give both sides time to negotiate.

“The county board and administrators have tremendous respect and appreciation for the work our nurses perform every day. We also acknowledge their work has been made even more challenging as a result of the pandemic,” Patti said.

“We nurses are pleased to get back to the bargaining table,” Kelly Mertz, a registered nurse at San Joaquin General Hospital, said in a Feb. 22 news release. “It is unconscionable that we nurses have been without a contract for two years. We cannot recruit and retain experienced nurses without a fair contract. We have had 160 nurses leave San Joaquin County’s health system since the pandemic began.”

The county and union have agreed to return to the bargaining table this week, according to the California Nurses Association. 


OREGON

The Oregon Federation of Nurses representing 156 technical employees at St. Charles Health System’s St. Charles Bend hospital campus filed a strike notice Feb. 22, according to a hospital news release.

The strike of indefinite duration is set to begin March 4 unless an agreement is reached.

Hospital management and the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals have been in negotiations for more than a year but have not been able to fully resolve issues, including wage structure and cost-of-living increases, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting

“We were driven to do this by the hospital,” labor organizer Sam Potter told the publication. “Our members have been waiting for and fighting for fair pay and a fair contract. We’ve waited long enough.”

Aaron Adams, president of the St. Charles Bend and Redmond (Ore.) campuses, said:  “St. Charles and all of our caregivers have been at the forefront of treating our community members with COVID-19. Our organization is also deeply involved in running large-scale community vaccination clinics for three counties alongside our Deschutes County partners. While this strike notice cannot slow our efforts to meet these critical community needs, it just adds new — and unnecessary — challenges when our community needs us most.”

The hospital said both sides had already agreed to meet March 10 with a federal mediator, and earlier bargaining dates of March 3, 4 or 5, were also under consideration when the strike notice was delivered. 

However, St. Charles “will now be required to direct its time to strike preparation rather than negotiations and will be unable to meet during the notice period,” the hospital said.

St. Charles said its leaders also plan to file an unfair labor practice charge against the union with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the union of bad faith bargaining.

PENNSYLVANIA

Heritage Valley Health System, which owns and operates a hospital in Beaver, Pa., must arbitrate  its dispute with a union over whether the hospital breached their collective bargaining agreement by assigning registered nurses to work as patient care assistants, a federal appeals court said.

Heritage Valley and the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania entered into an agreement effective from July 1, 2016 until June 30, 2019. 

In 2018, the union filed a grievance under the agreement alleging that the hospital assigned registered nurses to work as patient care assistants multiple times, in violation of mandatory nurse-to-patient staffing ratios that were bargained for between both sides, according to court documents. 

The union and hospital disagree on  whether  the contract requires arbitration of the alleged breach.

Heritage Valley contends its actions were allowed and excluded from the contract arbitration clause, while the union sued the hospital in U.S.  District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, claiming its grievance was an arbitrable violation.

The district court sided with the union, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit backed that decision.

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Texans Jack & Dodie View All →

Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Music
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Actors
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Space Explorers
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
Notables
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.

As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.

He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Perhaps I’m missing something but this threat of a nurses strike seems more about a labor dispute that has been building over some time rather than anything to do with “Covid”. It is remarkably similar to some recent teachers labor disputes.

    Liked by 1 person

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