Pay Raise Fails to Appease Striking St. Johns’ Nurses
Management at St. John's Hospitals in Camarillo and Oxnard gave striking nurses an 11% raise yesterday, but negotiations "remained deadlocked" as the nurses said they are more concerned with staffing issues than wages, the Los Angeles Times reports. St. John's Regional Medical Center and St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital nurses, members of Service Employees International Union Local 399, declared a two-week strike on Dec. 13 with hopes of gaining a "permanent voice" on staffing decisions and patient-to-nurse ratios. Susan Franks, an emergency room nurse and member of the union bargaining committee, said, "[Management] continue[s] to talk about money while the whole issue has always been patient care and staffing. The raise makes no difference except to make me think that they don't care at all about our message." Hospital administrators have countered that staffing ratios "are in line with both state and federal standards" and are a "management prerogative." In addition, hospital spokesperson Eric Rose said that the union's "refus[al]" to discuss salaries "hinders staffing because wages are key to attracting employees." The $1.4 million pay raise, which "has been on the table for weeks" and will bring wages to $18.50 an hour for "inexperienced nurses" and $29 for "veterans," will put St. John's Hospitals on par with other regional private hospitals (Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 12/21).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.