UC RNs Head to Court to Defend Right to Strike for Safer Patient Staffing, June 10 Walkout Still Planned

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 Hospital News
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SAN FRANCISCO, June 7 University of California registered nurses will be in court Tuesday to defend their democratic right to strike over their concerns about eroding patient care conditions in UC medical centers.

A hearing is scheduled Tuesday at 11 a.m. in San Francisco Superior Court, 400 McAllister St., Department 301, San Francisco, on efforts by the UC administration and the Gov. Schwarzenegger-dominated Public Employee Relations Board to block the right of nurses to strike.

Meanwhile, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, which represents the more than 11,000 RNs at five UC medical centers and student health centers across California, said preparations continue for the one-day walkout, scheduled for Thursday, June 10.

"It is very telling that UC administrators are devoting more effort, and squandering tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, trying to block the nurses' right to advocate for patients than in working with the nurses to fix their substantial patient care problems," said Beth Kean, CNA's UC division director.

CNA views the intervention by PERB as, "another in a long line of attacks on nurses, staffing ratios and workers in California by the Schwarzenegger administration which has been one of the most hostile to patients, nurses, and working people in decades," said Kean.

"The flimsy arguments advanced by PERB suggest active collusion between that supposedly public agency and the notorious anti-union law firm, Littler Mendelson, hired by UC to fight its nurses and other employees," Kean said.

UC RNs say they are compelled to strike as a last resort following the refusal of UC hospital officials to improve staffing conditions at its high profile hospitals, despite multiple efforts by nurses in the facilities, and in months of contract talks and a fact finding process.

At UC Davis, for example, internal staffing documentation from last year found that one-third of the shifts were short one or more RNs in each unit than what was required by the individual patient acuities on those shifts.

UCSF has reneged on agreements to improve staffing and assure a dedicated break relief program so that nurses can take needed breaks without jeopardizing patients, especially in medical, post-surgical, and step-down (intermediate care) units.

The Thursday strike will also affect RNs at three non-UC hospitals in Los Angeles County, Citrus Valley Medical Center, Covina, Little Company of Mary Medical Center, San Pedro, and Marina del Rey Medical Center.

What: RN Protest Rally When: Tuesday June 8, 2010-10:15 am Where: San Francisco Superior Court, 400 McAllister St.,

SOURCE California Nurses Association

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