Press Release

Management at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin Block Nurse from Safely Staffing NICU

Nurse holding sign "NNU: Newborns deserve a better beginning" and shirt "Patients before profits"

Nurses to move forward with one-day strike Dec. 6

Registered nurses at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin (ASMCA) in Texas reported today that Day Supervisor, Leighan Graham and Perinatal Director, Rachelle LaBonte, would not allow a nurse to work her shift in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) this morning in anticipation of the nurses’ one-day strike on Dec. 6, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United. As a result, three of the RNs in the NICU had three patient assignments each, more than the number of patients considered safe, even by the hospital’s own staffing guidelines. 

“It is deeply disturbing that Leighan Graham and Rachelle LaBonte — management who claim to be ‘leadership’ — would even attempt to deny a nurse her shift in anticipation of the strike. In the process, they are ultimately denying our most vulnerable patients, in this case babies in our NICU, the care they deserve,” said Alycia Lendo, an RN in the NICU. “This is behavior unbecoming of the ministry Ascension claims to be. Our patients deserve better and management’s behavior only strengthens our resolve to strike this company on Wednesday, Dec. 6.”

The nurses gave Ascension management the legally required notice on Nov. 22 that they would strike. Instead of planning for the safe operation of the hospital, Ascension management told nurses on Nov. 25  that they would be locked out for an additional three days following their planned one-day strike. Nurses condemn ASMCA management’s decision to stop a nurse from safely staffing the NICU today, and any other arbitrary staffing changes, as yet another example of how Ascension would rather put patients at risk than provide adequate staffing.  

The one-day strikes on Wednesday, Dec. 6, will move forward as planned at ASMCA in Texas and Ascension Via Christi St. Francis and Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph hospitals in Wichita, Kan.

Go here for detailed list of local actions, locations, and events, starting Tuesday, Dec. 5.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.