UC NURSES: Take Part in Statewide Informal Picketing
UC-Davis Medical Center nurses joined a statewide "informational" picketing campaign Wednesday, as 40 unionized nurses protested "an unfair contract offer," Scripps-McClatchy/Contra Costa Times reports. A similar demonstration occurred at UC-San Francisco, and picketing is planned for today at UC-Irvine and Friday at UCLA and UC- Berkeley. "The dispute, affecting 6,000 nurses at various UC medical facilities, reflects growing financial friction between nurses and health care organizations statewide," Scripps- McClatchy/Times reports, alluding to Kaiser nurses' protests in March, which stretched from Fresno to the Oregon border, as well as "labor discord" at several other hospitals. "[M]essy contract fights" have arisen from plans' and hospitals' efforts to minimize costs, while UC-Davis nurses protest pay levels they say are so low that "the hospital is losing experienced nurses to Kaiser and other area facilities."
However, UC-Davis' director of nursing, Carol Robinson, denied claims of "brain drain" and recruiting problems, while UC spokesperson Brad Hayward said the university has offered "substantial wage increases" that parallel "local market conditions." UC's contract with its nurses has been extended to May 21, and negotiations are set for Monday. In an effort to preserve patient care, nurses said they have used their breaks to "take turns on the line" (Kasler, 5/13).