Queen of Angels-Hollywood Medical Center Fires 18 Nurses Over Alleged ‘Unlawful Sickout’
Queen of Angels-Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center last Friday fired 18 nurses for their alleged participation in an "unlawful sickout" the day before the nurses went on strike in May, the Los Angeles Times reports. The nurses, members of the Service Employees International Union Local 399, violated federal law when they called in sick the day before a May 24 strike, according to hospital officials. The law prohibits such action within 10 days of the start of a strike (Pacio, Los Angeles Times, 6/29). The union's contract with Queen of Angels expired on May 13, and members voted to reject a new contract that would have increased nurses' wages 11% over three years and provided additional health benefits. The union is seeking a 7% pay increase and more affordable health benefits as part of a one-year contract (California Healthline, 6/19). The hospital suspended 27 nurses for "failing to show up for their shifts" the day before the strike began in May but has allowed five of those nurses to resume work after an investigation found that they did not participate in the sickout. Three other nurses have resigned, and one "remains suspended," Albert Greene, the hospital's CEO, said. He added, "We believe these 18 nurses took part in a premeditated action that could have put patients at risk." The nurses, however, said that Tenet Healthcare Corp., which owns the hospital, "used the termination as a tactic to silence those nurses who were the most vocal in criticizing low staff levels" (Los Angeles Times, 6/29).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.