San Joaquin County Nurses Set To Begin 24-Hour Strike Today
As expected, nurses employed by San Joaquin County are scheduled to hold a 24-hour strike, beginning this morning, after contract negotiations broke down on Monday, the Stockton Record reports (Firpo, Stockton Record, 7/24). Negotiations between the California Nurses Association, which represents the nurses, and county officials have stalled over disagreements on nurses' salaries and health benefits. According to the CNA, San Joaquin nurses earn much less than nurses who work in the county's private hospitals -- as much as $5 less per hour in some cases. CNA has asked the county for a 22% increase in nurses' wages; the county has offered an 11% increase. In addition, CNA has asked the county to cover the cost of health insurance for the nurses and their families (California Healthline, 7/12). The strike has prompted county officials to close outpatient clinics and postpone surgeries. In addition, officials asked that only the "most-severely injured" use San Joaquin General Hospital's emergency room, which will remain open during the strike. Negotiators for the nurses said that most of the union's 560 nurses will participate in the strike. County officials said that doctors, senior managers and traveling nurses will fill in for striking nurses. Union leader Janet Sass-McDermott said that if the strike does not "create a breakthrough" in the contract negotiations, the union is likely to call another one (Stockton Record, 7/24).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.