Press Release

Registered Nurses Call One-Day Strike November 27 to Protest Eroding Patient Care Conditions at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica and Little Company of Mary Medical Center in San Pedro

On Strike For Safe Patient Care

Registered nurses will hold a one-day strike on November 27th to protest declining patient care conditions at two hospitals owned by Providence St. Joseph Health system: the Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro and St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

“We are being asked to do more with less, and we don’t have the tools we need to give our patients the best quality care. Management is turning a deaf ear to our concerns and we feel we have no choice but to strike,” said Sudie Cunnane, a registered nurse at St. John’s Health Center for 24 years. “It is heartbreaking what is happening at our hospital. Our lift teams that help us safely lift patients have been eliminated, and our transportation teams, who move patients from one area of the hospital to another, have been drastically cut. This means if there is a critical care patient who needs to be moved, because maybe they spike a fever, there may not be a team to move them. They may be hooked up to heavy equipment and so one nurse can’t move the patient alone. So now maybe two nurses have to leave their patients, or that patient faces a long delay in getting care, and this, in a situation where every minute makes a difference.”

What: One-Day Strike and Rally at St. John’s Health Center
When: Tuesday, November 27 – picket starts at 7:00 a.m., Rally at 11:30 a.m.
Where: St. John’s Health Center, 2121 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, Calif. 

What: One-Day Strike and Rally at Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro
When: Tuesday, November 27 – picket starts at 7:00 a.m., Rally at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro, 1300 W. 7th Street, San Pedro, Calif.

Nurses at both hospitals are in contract negotiations and of key concern to RNs is the high level of staff attrition and both hospitals’ dependence on regularly rotating RNs from unit to unit, to temporarily plug staffing holes. The hospitals’ conduct this practice, known as “floating,” without providing adequate training and preparation for nurses being shifted outside of their unit of expertise and experience.

“We know that patients are best served when experienced nurses work alongside and train newer nurses, but we are losing our experienced nurses because of poor working conditions and under market wages,” said Julie Cullen, a registered nurse at Little Company of Mary San Pedro. “We are understaffed, we need dedicated break relief nurses, and fair market wages that allow us to recruit and retain experienced nurses. We have given management every opportunity to settle a union contract that is fair for all nurses, but they block us at every turn. For this reason, our fellow RN colleagues have decided to go on a one-day strike. We did not want to but we were forced to, for the future safe patient care and the future of nursing in our San Pedro community.”

The contract for the 600 nurses at St. John’s expired on July 25, 2018 and that of the 300 RNS at Little Company of Mary San Pedro, expired on Dec. 31, 2017.  In 2017, the parent company of both hospitals, the non-profit Providence St. Joseph Health System, made $780 million dollars in excess of their expenses. 

The California Nurses Association has 100,000 members statewide and is affiliated with National Nurses United, the largest- and fastest-growing union of RNs in the nation. CNA/NNU has won landmark health and safety protections for nurses and patients in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease, and workplace violence protection.