Union Members May Help Planned St. John’s Nurses’ Strike
"Tens of thousands" of Ventura County union members have been asked to "honor the picket line" if a planned nurses' strike at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo begins tomorrow, the Ventura County Star reports. If other trade union members, including truck drivers and carpenters, stand by the nurses, the planned two-week strike could affect hospital operational services, including requests for plumbing, telephone and electrical repairs. T.J. Marsallo, a representative with the nurses' Service Employees International Union Local 399, said, "What this means is if supplies are supposed to come in and the truck driver is a Teamster, he'll probably refuse to cross the picket line." In preparation for the strike, St. John's has "stockpiled supplies" and "reduced elective surgery schedules." At issue are nurses' demands for improved staffing levels, better pay and benefits. Nurses contend the hospital has been "bargaining in bad faith" by failing to address the staffing issue. However, Armando Azarloza, a spokesperson for Catholic Healthcare West-owned St. John's, said that management has offered "pay increases and other concessions," which have been rejected. He added, "We believe the strike is part of a corporate campaign by SEIU against CHW and that this strike will go forward no matter what we offer or do." He said that negotiations will continue "up until the 11th hour." The strike is set for 6 a.m. Thursday and will coincide with one-day strikes by SEIU members at three other CHW hospitals and 13 Sutter Health facilities statewide (Koehler, Ventura County Star, 12/13).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.