Press Release

Antelope Valley nurses to hold informational picket for safe patient care and safe staffing

Antelope Valley nurses holding banner "AVH Nurses Union Strong"

Chronic short staffing is jeopardizing safe patient care

Registered nurses at Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster, Calif., will hold an informational picket on Tuesday, June 18, to protest the administration’s refusal to address RNs’ deep concerns about patient care and chronic short staffing, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).

Short staffing is a major concern for nurses at Antelope Valley, which has one of the busiest ERs in the country. The night shift at the ER will sometimes be staffed with fewer than 10 RNs for more than 100 patients, jeopardizing patient care. Additionally, nurses throughout the hospital are being pressured to work overtime after their 12-hour shift has ended due to the next shift being understaffed. Nurses are also being floated to work in units outside of their area of expertise, which is not safe for patients or nurses. Additionally, nurses throughout the hospital have filed dozens of forms, known as assignment despite objection documentation (ADOs), reporting unsafe staffing and missed meal and rest breaks.

“We are forced to choose between protecting our license and our patients or following hospital policy requiring us to take breaks,” said Melanie Castro, RN in the ICU at Antelope Valley Medical Center. “This situation creates moral distress because if we take a break during our 12-hour shift, our patients may not get the care they need because the unit would be short-staffed. If we don’t take a break, we will not be well-rested, and that increases the possibility of medical errors.”

  • Who:     Registered Nurses at Antelope Valley Medical Center
  • What:    Informational picket for patient safety and safe staffing
  • When:   Tuesday, June 18, 11:30 a.m.
  • Where:  Antelope Valley Medical Center, 1600 W. Ave. J, Lancaster, on the sidewalk

“To hospital administration, this is all about money,” said Brandi Wechsberg, RN in the Women and Infants Pavilion. “But this is about more than the budget – this is about the safety of our patients and our community. We are fighting for our patients.”

“The hospital’s priorities are out of line with what our patients need,” said Castro. “We are the first line of defense for our patients. We are speaking out for our patients. Nurses’ voices must be heard. We put the care in health care.”

Antelope Valley Medical Center nurses have been in negotiations for a new contract since March 2024 with little to no movement on key issues. The RNs’ contract expired on May 26, 2024. The nurses urge management to invest in nursing staff and agree to a contract that provides:

  • Safe staffing based on legally mandated ratios and patient acuity at all times, with support for meal- and rest-break coverage.
  • Safe floating practices that protect patients and ensure competent staffing for all units (floating is a management practice where nurses are reassigned to units of the hospital where they do not normally work).
  • An end to excessive overtime and on-call shifts.

California Nurses Association represents nearly 900 nurses at Antelope Valley Medical Center.

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and nearly 225,000 RNs nationwide.