St. John’s Nurses to Strike For Third Time
Following more failed negotiations with hospital administrators, unionized nurses at St. John's hospitals in Camarillo and Oxnard are planning to proceed with a four-day strike starting Friday, the Ventura County Star reports. According to hospital spokesperson Armando Azarloza, hospital administrators and nurses met for "about 20 minutes" Wednesday to try to avoid the strike, but no resolution was reached. Contract discussions broke down "over the unwillingness of management to pay competitive wages and fully pay individual nurses' health insurance coverage," according to a news release from Service Employees International Union Local 399. The hospital had offered nurses a 22% increase over four years and proposed freezing the costs of health benefits for nurses and their dependents. The hospital also offered a free Health Net HMO plan, but nurses objected to the plan because it had "too many restrictions." Susan Franks, a nurse at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, said that under the plan, nurses would not be able to receive medical care at the hospitals where they work or at other Catholic Healthcare West hospitals. This will be the third strike called for during the course of contract negotiations. Azarloza said that hospital operations would remain unaffected by the strike, as replacement nurses already have been hired (Marquez, Ventura County Star, 3/1).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.