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6,500 Nurses to Go Out on Strike 09/20/19 in Four States

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Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Nurses Stage Strike Across 4 States

Nurses across the country have been demanding safer working conditions and better nurse-patient ratios. Today thousands of nurses are putting actions to their demands by walking out of their hospitals today in a 4-state strike.

6,500 Nurses to Go Out on Strike 09/20/19 in Four States

Registered nurses across the US will hold a one-day strike of their own demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

Over 6,500 registered nurses in hospitals in California, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois will strike on September 20 demanding higher wages and better working conditions. The strike will mark the first-ever nurse strike in Arizona, and the first hospital registered nurse strike in Florida's history.

Nurses who are part of the National Nurses United union are asking for better nurse retention and nurse-to-patient ratios. Most nurses who will be participating in the strike are employed with Tenet Healthcare, a multinational health-services company that operates 65 hospitals and 500 other healthcare facilities.

Nurses told Business Insider they have been negotiating with Tenet for a better contract for over a year and haven't received the concessions they demand. The union said that nurses have worked without a contract for two years in Arizona and under expired contracts for several months in California and Florida. Nurses also want lower nurse-patient ratios to improve the quality of patient care and prevent nurse burnout. Some hospitals are assigning twice the number of patients to nurses that research recommends.

2,200 University of Chicago Medical Center Nurses Walk Off the Job

Nurses working at the University of Chicago Medical Center plan to strike for five days in an effort to bring additional attention to their continuing struggle to get better nurse-patient ratios. About 2,200 nurses are expected to strike.

Wow, I'm in Illinois and had not heard this. Anyone participating? What's your facility's take on this?

https://www.businessinsider.com/nurses-to-go-on-strike-for-better-patient-ratios-2019-9

So here's an update:

From Illinois:

CHICAGO (AP) — "Nurses at University of Chicago Medical Center are holding a one-day strike following what they call a breakdown of contract negotiations between their union and the hospital.

The walkout began Friday morning, with nurses marching and chanting outside the hospital.

The 618-bed hospital prepared for a walkout by the about 2,200 nurses by diverting ambulances and moving patients. Although the nurses say the strike will last one day, hospital officials have told the nurses to stay away until Wednesday because temporary nurses have been contracted.

The walkout began Friday morning, with nurses marching and chanting outside the hospital.

The 618-bed hospital prepared for a walkout by the about 2,200 nurses by diverting ambulances and moving patients. Although the nurses say the strike will last one day, hospital officials have told the nurses to stay away until Wednesday because temporary nurses have been contracted."

https://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/nurses-hold--day-strike-at-university-of-chicago-hospital/article_fa1892c8-2311-5c36-aefd-2b190bba2d14.html

From Florida:

HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) — "Registered nurses staged a one-day strike against Tenet Health hospitals in Florida, California and Arizona on Friday, demanding better working conditions and higher wages as the nation's labor movement has begun flexing muscles weakened by decades of declining membership amid business and government attacks.

About 6,500 National Nurses United members walked out at 12 Tenet facilities after working toward a first contract for a year in Arizona and under expired contracts for months in California and Florida, the union said. They plan to resume working Saturday. Members also passed out leaflets in Texas, where contracts at two Tenet hospitals in El Paso expire later this year."

https://www.stltoday.com/business/national-and-international/nurses-staging--day-strike-at-hospitals-in-states/article_b86900c9-5800-564b-bdbe-1af836fcd8e7.html

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34 Comment(s)

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 10 years experience.

Holy gravy....the Tenet hospital "surgical" (I am assuming med-surg) ratio is EIGHT patients to one nurse.

I say it all the time....what we have is a shortage of nurses who want to work in the hospitals with conditions like that. Not a nursing shortage, at least here in the NTX.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Wow! Unimaginable!

To those nurses affected by the strike - how is it going?

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 39 years experience.

Good. Something's got to give. I'm sickened by posts from new grads describing their relentless stress levels. It shouldn't be like that. Anyone expects a certain amount of stress when starting a new career. But the stress levels associated with nursing are driving good people away. Hospitals just keep piling the straws on the camel's back.

By the way, who are these temporary nurses filling in? Do they have the approval of the striking nurses, or are they undermining the strike?

Right on! It's just too bad that nurses give notice of their intent to strike.

What really needs to happen is that Management gets caught with having to work the floors because of the nursing equivalent of "blue flu".

they need to feel the pain.

1 hour ago, Kooky Korky said:

Right on! It's just too bad that nurses give notice of their intent to strike.

What really needs to happen is that Management gets caught with having to work the floors because of the nursing equivalent of "blue flu".

they need to feel the pain.

Now that would be outright scary. Patients still need care people cant just go missing. I get your sentiment though

fibroblast

Has 5 years experience.

2 hours ago, TriciaJ said:

Hospitals just keep piling the straws on the camel's back.

Yes, it's because nurses are largely women. Hospitals have no repercussions when they are women. 'Just leave it for the nurse to do'. 'Add it to the nurses duties'. 'Add another blood pressure check to the nurse'. Women are inherently told to take it and be quiet.

Edited by fibroblast

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

12 hours ago, TriciaJ said:

Good. Something's got to give. I'm sickened by posts from new grads describing their relentless stress levels. It shouldn't be like that. Anyone expects a certain amount of stress when starting a new career. But the stress levels associated with nursing are driving good people away. Hospitals just keep piling the straws on the camel's back.

By the way, who are these temporary nurses filling in? Do they have the approval of the striking nurses, or are they undermining the strike?

Good question

Other nurses who should strike are the ones in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. The nurse patient ratio is horrible which leads to complaints and poorer outcomes for patients.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience.

We have two hospital systems where I live. One just settled a three year contract. This is resulting in that hospital actively recruiting me and others I am sure. Actually makes me a little mad at all the recruitment emails and even the occasional call since I never even received an interview on any floor back when I was actually wanting to work there.

The other hospital system is set to have a nurses strike since they have so far been unable to reach any kind of contract agreement. The strike vote was overwhelmingly approved. Their big asks are pay equal to the big metropolitan areas, better benefits and improved ratios. Gotta say I can't really agree with demands to increase pay to match the closest big city which is 150 miles away. First thing is the big city has a substantially higher cost of living. Other thing is they are certainly far enough away to have pretty minimal impact on the local job market.

adnrnstudent, ASN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

These fill in nurses crossing the picket line for $840 a day in Chicago. Good money now, but don’t let those 2200 nurses see your face. Don’t cross a picket line.

5 hours ago, adnrnstudent said:

These fill in nurses crossing the picket line for $840 a day in Chicago. Good money now, but don’t let those 2200 nurses see your face. Don’t cross a picket line.

Who is going to care for patients, though? People are still sick, and they need nurses.

Strikes still have an impact because the hospital has to pay so much more for the temporary workers. Also the hospital will be losing money from running below capacity, cancelling elective procedures, etc.

I'm union and proud of it, but if my loved one were lying in a hospital bed, I would want someone to cross that line to care for him or her.

20 hours ago, Kooky Korky said:

Right on! It's just too bad that nurses give notice of their intent to strike.

What really needs to happen is that Management gets caught with having to work the floors because of the nursing equivalent of "blue flu".

they need to feel the pain.

If they didn't give notice, who is going to suffer? It's not admin.

It's the nurses who were on shift when the strike started, and can't leave without replacements because that actually WOULD be patient abandonment.

It's the patients who are left without competent nurses. As much as I like to daydream about management donning scrubs and working the floor, most of them have been away from the bedside too long to really be safe, even if they do still have RN after their names.

tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

According to one CBS news source:

Quote

"To keep the hospital running during the strike, the University of Chicago Medical Center brought in hundreds of temporary nurses, and officials said they had to give them a five-day guarantee, so the striking nurses won't be back at work until Wednesday, when contract negotiations resume."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/university-of-chicago-nurse-strike-2200-nurses-walk-off-job-today-2019-09-20-live-updates/

Quote

The University of Chicago will be paying replacement nurses $4,200 each to fill in for the nurses who went on strike Friday, according to a recruiting notice obtained by CBS 2.

The hospital administration is working with U.S. Nursing Corp, a Colorado-based company that specializes in providing medical staff to hospitals during labor disputes. The nurses will be guaranteed 60 hours of work for at least five days at $70 an hour.

https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/09/20/university-of-chicago-nurses-strike-2/

I wonder if the hospital ever considered spending that money to pay for more staff to provide safer staffing ratios and patient care????

37 minutes ago, tnbutterfly said:

I wonder if the hospital ever considered spending that money to pay for more staff to provide safer staffing ratios and patient care????

I suppose it depends if the hospital sees that temporary bump in costs as the price they pay for chronic understaffing. For a strike to work, the workers have to create an economic disruption big enough for the Powers That Be to consider safer staffing ratios a good return on investment. The PTB are interested in the ROI - so do they invest in their permanent staff year round or their temporary staff during a strike?

I am an RN at one of the California hospitals that had the strike. The strike was for 24 hours, but Tenet hired strike nurses for 5 days (which is guess is the minimum) so our regular, permanent staff is being called off of their shifts. We work consistently understaffed. Even if we start our day with a full staff, our director delays the start of some of our nurses or sends nurses home early, at the expense of the patients and of our staff. We miss our breaks on a daily basis, and patients wait in the lobby up to hours because our nurses were sent home and we are unable to staff all of our rooms. I hear from coworkers right now that there are more than enough nurses on staff, everyone is getting breaks, everyone is within ratio. If tenet valued its employees enough to make sure we got the same, there wouldn’t have been a strike. They are spending millions on this, just to prove a point, but the ones suffering are the patients because they’re being cared for by nurses who don’t know our unit, don’t know our doctors, and don’t even know where to find supplies in emergent cases. I will be finishing my NP schooling soon, and when I move on, I will never again work for another tenet facility.

tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

4 hours ago, RNbel209 said:

I am an RN at one of the California hospitals that had the strike. The strike was for 24 hours, but Tenet hired strike nurses for 5 days (which is guess is the minimum) so our regular, permanent staff is being called off of their shifts. We work consistently understaffed. Even if we start our day with a full staff, our director delays the start of some of our nurses or sends nurses home early, at the expense of the patients and of our staff. We miss our breaks on a daily basis, and patients wait in the lobby up to hours because our nurses were sent home and we are unable to staff all of our rooms. I hear from coworkers right now that there are more than enough nurses on staff, everyone is getting breaks, everyone is within ratio. If tenet valued its employees enough to make sure we got the same, there wouldn’t have been a strike. They are spending millions on this, just to prove a point, but the ones suffering are the patients because they’re being cared for by nurses who don’t know our unit, don’t know our doctors, and don’t even know where to find supplies in emergent cases. I will be finishing my NP schooling soon, and when I move on, I will never again work for another tenet facility.

Thank you for sharing. More importantly, thank you for standing up for safer staffing.

Walti, LPN, LVN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in ICU/ER mostley ER 25 years. Has 52 years experience.

On the other hand do you want your dad going an additional 15 miles for treatment for his AMI? All ERs and ICUs need to be staffed 24/7/365. The consequences to the community are just too high.

As a young medic stationed at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii I witnessed a nursing strike by the local nurses. This was back in the mid 70s. The local newspaper wasn't treating them kindly. I recall being in a hardware store and standing in the checkout line while the lady ahead of me chatted with the clerk about those horrible nurses holding their patients hostage for higher wages. I tapped her on the shoulder and said "Excuse me but did you know the people who pick up your garbage are getting paid more than the nurses in the ICUs?" She was appalled.

Those very lucrative wages being paid to the "scabs" are squeezing the management into getting the striking nurses what they are asking.