UC Nurses Strike Would ‘Further Damage’ State Health Care System, Oakland Tribune Says
A one-day strike by University of California health system nurses planned for May 29 would "only further damage [the state's] health care system," according to an Oakland Tribune editorial (Oakland Tribune, 5/21). UC nurses will conduct the strike, which could include as many as 8,000 nurses, to protest "stalled negotiations" over a new contract, which expired April 30. The nurses are asking for a seniority-based, rather than merit-based, pay system and a 10% annual raise. The nurses are also seeking a contract that prohibits mandatory overtime and immediately implements minimum nurse-to-patient ratios (California Healthline, 5/21). The job nurses perform is "too critical for the workers to go out on strike," and hospital administrators and California Nurses Association representatives speaking for the nurses should do "everything possible to avoid a strike," the editorial says. Although nurses "definitely have a point when they connect the quality of their working conditions with the quality of patient care ... [p]atients are just too vulnerable" for a strike, the Tribune says. The editorial concludes, "The nurses are raising very important issues relating to the quality of health care and the UC officials should take [the nurses] seriously during negotiations. Both sides must go to all lengths to resolve their differences and agree on a contract" (Oakland Tribune, 5/21).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.