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Educators Voice Support for UC RNs Right to Strike

Press Release Press Release, 6/18/10

Contact Information | Media Center

For Immediate Release
June 18, 2010

On the eve of a crucial court hearing on the right of University of California registered nurses to strike to patient safety, three prominent educators from the UC community today issued statements supporting that democratic principle.

"The right to strike is fundamental in a democratic society," said Harley Shaiken, Professor of Geography and Education, and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California Berkeley. "Nurses who look after our health and safeguard our lives certainly ought to have this right."

“It is ironic and disgraceful that an institution of higher learning would take the position of trying to silence its registered nurses who seek to take collective action on behalf of their patients,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, MacArthur Foundation Chair in History and Director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at the University of California Santa Barbara. 

“The University of California’s hospital management needs to work with the California Nurses Association to ensure safe staffing at its medical facilities in accordance with the state law so that quality patient care is ensured,” Lichtenstein said.

“University of California nurses have a right to take collective action for their patients’ well being—and they should be applauded for standing up for quality care for their patients,” said John Logan, Director of Labor Studies at San Francisco State University and Senior Research Specialist at the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California-Berkeley. 

“Withholding one’s labor is a basic and fundamental human right enshrined in the conventions of the International Labor Organization, as well as California state law.  The Public Employment Relations Board and the courts should protect that right rather than undermine it.,“ Logan said.

A hearing on that right will be held this morning in San Francisco Superior Court concerning the right of UC RNs to strike as their last resort to prod the medical centers to repair eroding patient care conditions in their hospitals.  The nurses postponed a planned one-day strike by 11,000 UC nurses June 10 following a temporary restraining order June 8 that was a prelude to this hearing.

Prior to the hearing, UC RNs, joined by nurse leaders from Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Texas will rally outside the courtroom in support of the rights of the RNs.

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