A union of nearly 5,000 registered nurses is poised to go on strike in California, citing COVID-19 burnout and the failure of two hospitals to give them “fair contracts.”
The Committee for the Recognition of Union Achievement (CRONA), an independent union representing bedside nurses at Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, said their contracts are due to expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
After midnight, the nurses will continue working under their previous contract, and the union might hold a strike authorization vote. Negotiations continued Thursday afternoon in an effort to avert that scenario.
The union said in a statement that the nurses are “calling on the hospitals’ administrators to effectively address the crisis in the nursing profession and implement common-sense supports to overcome burnout, exhaustion and trauma.”
“To date, the leadership of Stanford hospitals has not risen to the occasion, instead proposing increases to the nurses’ own health care premiums, and saying that nurses should be ‘more available’ to work,” the statement said.
The nurses want more money for staff retention and recruiting, the union says. They also are asking for better mental health support and health care coverage for their children.
Neither Stanford Health nor Lucile Packard hospital responded to a request for comment.
But Stanford University School of Medicine spokesperson Julie Greicius told The Stanford Daily in a March 10 article that the hospitals had made what they considered to be fair contract offers.
Ms. Greicius told the independent student publication that the hospitals “offered proposals” to the nurses “that increase our investment and preserve their place among the highest compensated and best supported nursing teams in America.”
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