“Nurses Plan Walkout at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt.” By Nina Bernstein. New York Times. December 22, 2011. Nurses at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital will go on strike on Jan. 3 unless last-ditch negotiations succeed in bridging a divide over wages, according to leaders in the New York State Nurses Association, which issued a 10-day strike warning early Thursday on behalf of 1,300 registered nurses at the hospital. Intense labor negotiations continued until 4 a.m., with some progress but no settlement, said Betty Ann Lynch, a veteran nurse and union negotiator, who added that the talks with management are to resume on Monday. “We’re very, very close,” Ms. Lynch said. “I want to avoid a strike.” While recent nurses’ strikes in California were for 24 hours, the nurses at St. Luke’s will keep other options open, the union said. In a memorandum issued late Thursday, Stanley Brezenoff, the chief executive of Continuum Health Partners, which includes St. Luke’s-Roosevelt, called the action “most distressing.” While expressing hope that a resolution could still be reached, he vowed to operate the hospital at full capacity with replacement nurses in the event of a strike. And he warned, “We may, unfortunately, be unable to reinstate striking nurses as soon as they wish, since the contractual commitment required” may make that impossible.
“Nurses stage 1-day strike at 2 Long Beach hospitals; Hundreds of nurses picket Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital over failed contract talks and staffing issues.” By Ruben Vives. Los Angeles Times. December 23, 2011. Hundreds of nurses from Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital staged a one-day strike Thursday over failed contract negotiations and staffing issues. Equipped with bullhorns and whistles, the nurses stood by the main entrance of the hospitals on Patterson Street and Atlantic Avenue. Many waved picket signs that read: “If nurses are outside, something’s wrong inside” and “Safe staffing at all times.” Amid the yelling and cheering for every car horn honk they got, the nurses sang out chants. The California Nurses Assn. has been working without a contract since Sept. 30 and has been at odds with hospital management over staffing conditions and rising costs of healthcare premiums. Union President DeAnn McEwen said most nurses are unable to take breaks or lunches and some nurses are forced to cover for one another by doubling patients. She said the hospitals also want to eliminate a 5% cap on healthcare premiums. Additionally, she said, the union wants the hospitals to create a patient lift policy — teams that lift and move patients out of beds — to prevent work injuries. Next year a state law will require that such teams be put in place at hospitals, union and hospital officials say. “This hospital is extremely profitable and they’re engaging in Wall Street-style gambling with the lives of patients and nurses,” McEwen said.