California university nurses threaten to strike

13:28, June 09, 2010      

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Thousands of nurses at California university hospitals would go on strike this week to protest against inadequate staffing, the California Nurses Association (CNA) announced on Tuesday.

The strike, scheduled for Thursday, would involve 12,000 nurses at all five University of California (UC) hospitals, student health centers and Marina Del Rey Hospital, Citrus Valley Medical Center and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro, the association said.

"Nurses don't strike lightly. They're striking because they are alarmed at the universities' unwillingness to address inadequate staffing that puts patents at risk," said CNS spokesman Chuck Idelson.

He said the strike was planned after contract negotiations stalled due to hospital officials' unwillingness to meet state- mandated nurse staffing ratios.

If nurses strike, Idelson said, the union would still maintain a small staff on standby at each hospital in case of emergency.

Meanwhile, state officials is seeking a court order to block the nurses from striking.

But even if a judge issues the order, the labor conflict will likely cost 15 million dollars.

A hearing on the injunction is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court, said Dwaine Duckett, the university system's vice president of human resources.

"We feel CNA's leadership has bargained in bad faith and continues to by leveraging patient safety to serve their purposes, " Duckett said.

UC health officials are paying to fly in nurses from as far away as the East Coast, house and train them and cover other expenses at an estimated cost of 10 million to 15 million dollars, Duckett said.

Even if a judge issues a court order Tuesday, the cost will remain about the same, he said.

Nurses started arriving Monday morning, and hospital officials have postponed and canceled surgeries and may have to divert patients and ambulances, according to Duckett.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:intern1)

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