Palomar Pomerado Nurses Collect Enough Signatures to ‘Force’ Vote on Union Representation
Nurses in the Palomar Pomerado Health System announced Monday that they have collected enough signatures to force a vote to join the California Nurses Association, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Judie Gahagan, a member of the union organizing committee, said that more than 30% -- the minimum required for a vote -- of the nearly 550 nurses had signed cards in favor of the election. The vote could be held as early as January 2002. Gahagan said that many nurses at Escondido-based Palomar Medical Center and Poway-based Pomerado Hospital feel that unionizing will give them more leverage in negotiations with administrators. She added that nurses are concerned that staffing levels are too low, compromising the quality of care. In addition, many of the system's nurses are leaving for higher-paying jobs. Hospital officials said they are also concerned about patient care and say that they have been working to increase pay and working conditions. Six years ago, Palomar and Pomerado nurses failed to approve union representation, coming just 14 votes shy of the 51% majority needed to unionize (Berhman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.