After nurse strike, hospital imposed two-day lockout

Upon returning from a 24-hour strike, nurses discovered they were locked out Wednesday from Watsonville (Calif.) Community Hospital, the Register-Pajaronian reports. Hospital security staff gave the morning shift nurses an undated, unsigned letter that told them that temporary nurses would cover their shifts. They will be allowed to return to work on Friday.

Some 300 Watsonville RNs, who are members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, went on a one-day strike Tuesday to draw attention to low staffing ratios that they said compromised patient care and required nurses to work double shifts and skip breaks if relief workers weren't available.

When hospital administrators heard of the impending strike, they decided to cut back services, including emergency admissions. They cut back on Oct. 20, six days before Tuesday's strike. A hospital spokeswoman said they would not let the strike jeopardize the care and safety of patients.

While notices from CNA said the strike would occur between 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, and at 6:45 a.m. the next day, one notice was ambiguous, according to a nurse, because it said the strike might continue if temporary workers were still covering the nurses' shifts.

The union submitted eight proposals to hospital administrators over the last eight months, but has not gotten any response, the Register reports. The hospital spokesperson noted that the facility had offered a contract with a salary increases, but would not comment on whether staffing would be beefed up.

A spokesperson with Community Health System, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company that runs the hospital, would not comment on the strike.

To learn more:
- read the California Nurses Association press release
- here is the Register-Pajaronian story