St. John’s, Nurses Urged to Make Agreement
Commenting on the threatened walk-off by nurses at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, a Ventura County Star editorial calls on both sides to reach a negotiated settlement "to prove they want something better than a strike." The nurses, citing pay concerns and staffing levels, have said they will walk off the job on Dec. 14 if they do not reach an agreement by then with Catholic Healthcare West, which owns both facilities. Noting that "the interest in health care in Ventura County goes beyond the walls of any single institution," the editorial warns that the "effect of [a] strike will be felt countywide, at hospitals from Simi Valley to Thousands Oaks to Ventura." The editorial sympathizes with the nurses -- a majority of whom are represented by the Services Employees International Union -- and states that those who work at St. John's make $5 to $9 less per hour than those who work at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousands Oaks. But the editorial is also concerned about St. John's COO Charles Padilla's assertion that SEIU's "charges" of inadequate staffing levels "are part of a larger union effort against Catholic Healthcare West ... [which includes] strikes at five Northern California facilities." The editorial calls this tactic "troubling," stating that "Bay area labor troubles should not be allowed to stall negotiations in Ventura County." Members of the editorial staff, the editorial states, have talked with nurses who are "passionate" about patient care and management that is "committed" to improving the quality of it's hospitals. The editorial surmises: "Somewhere in between, we would suggest, is both the need and the potential to reach a settlement" (Ventura County Star, 12/1).