Press Release

Nurses to hold informational picket and car caravan at Keck Hospital of USC/USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Nurses hold signs "They call us heroes but treat us like zeroes"

Registered nurses at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles will hold an informational picket and car caravan honk-a-thon on Dec. 2 to protest unsafe working conditions and policy changes that jeopardize the health of patients and violate health care workers’ contracts and state law, announced California Nurses Association (CNA) today.

Nurses demand USC take immediate action to protect patients, their families, the community, nurses, and frontline healthcare workers and prevent another Covid-19 outbreak at Keck. (In early October, at least 12 staff members tested positive for Covid-19.)

RNs demand that USC:

  • rescind its recently implemented punitive policy that discourages health care workers from staying home when experiencing Covid-19 symptoms;
  • ensure that nurses caring for Covid-19 patients receive the resources and support necessary to prevent the spread of the disease; and
  • limit visitation to one visitor per patient and ensure visitors are thoroughly screened and test negative for Covid-19.

What: Nurses to hold informational picket and car caravan honk-a-thon to protest USC’s unsafe conditions
When: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 8 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Where: Picket is at the intersection of San Pablo St. and Norfolk St.
             Caravan starts at Alcazar and San Pablo St. and then circles the Keck Hospital

USC changed company policy governing paid time off, attendance, and tardiness. Nurses say these changes are intended to intimidate workers from calling in sick by threatening disciplinary actions up to, and including, termination. Health care workers will feel forced to go to work when they should stay home to prevent the spread of illness and disease at the hospital.

“USC’s new attendance policy all but guarantees that staff will be forced to show up to work sick if they want to keep their jobs,” said Kerri Dodgens. “This policy is unjust for the staff and dangerous for the patients. It’s in violation of multiple collective bargaining agreements with their staff and is also a flagrant violation of the California Kin Care statute. No institution, regardless of their size, is above the law.”

“USC’s new policy is dangerous, heartless, and unfair,” said Allysha Shin. “The policy takes peace of mind away from the nurses and staff that care for some of the sickest patients in the state. Nurses and staff now have to prioritize their jobs over caring for their loved ones and even themselves. If USC wants to continue its claim as a ‘world-class academic medical center,’ then it must make accommodations for those at the front lines of care for some of the toughest cases.”

California Nurses Association represents more than 1,300 nurses at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.