Barton Memorial Hospital Nurses Prepare for One-Day Strike This Friday
Registered nurses at Barton Memorial Hospital are gearing up for a one-day unfair labor practice strike this Friday, May 24, said California Nurses Association (CNA). The nurses say they are being forced to take this action because Barton Memorial Hospital management is failing to bargain a first contract in good faith. Nurses contend that hospital management is refusing to take the necessary steps to retain experienced nurses and schedule the staffing necessary to provide the best patient care possible.
“Nurses are committed to providing compassionate and skilled care to their patients, but nurses who are overworked and exhausted mentally and physically cannot provide the best care to their patients,” said Beth Dameral, RN. “We need Barton to honor our expertise, to respect our voices, and to negotiate in good faith. When the nurses’ voices are heard, the patients get the care they need and deserve.”
CNA has filed unfair labor practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing hospital management of not bargaining in good faith. In those charges, the nurses contend that hospital management is withholding information on medical debt collections that the hospital is required to supply as part of contract negotiations.
“Barton Memorial is refusing to disclose how it is that nurses are facing tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt that they accrued while working at Barton,” said Dameral. “It is scandalous that nurses, who are committed to caring for this community, are finding themselves in collections for their own care. We know some nurses are seeing charges that far exceed what they would be billed for if they received their insurance through the ACA.”
In November 2017, Barton Memorial Hospital registered nurses voted overwhelmingly to unionize with CNA. The nurses have been in negotiations with hospital management since March of 2018.
Since the certification, nurses have filled out more than a hundred “assignment despite objection” (ADO) forms to document assignments and situations they felt are not safe for the patient or may compromise the nurse’s license. Many of those ADO forms note that due to short staffing nurses have had to go without meals or breaks. Studies show that fatigue and exhaustion among health care workers compromises patient safety and leads to an increase in the risk of adverse events.
“We voted in the union because hospital management refused to listen to our concerns about the impact of short staffing on patient care, and nurses were afraid to stand up and speak out for fear of losing their jobs,” said Kelli Teteak, a registered nurse who has worked at Barton Memorial Hospital for 18 years. “We have now been in negotiations for over a year, and it is clear, management is still not ready to take us seriously. But we are very serious. We will be heard and we cannot allow management to renege on promises and stall negotiations. Striking is a last resort, but we have been pushed too far and have no choice but to stand up for our patients.”
The strike is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, May 24 and conclude at 7:29 a.m. on Saturday, May 25.