12/9/07

Strike-happy SEIU nurses at it again

Union nurses at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center have voted to strike again if negotiations are not resolved over concerns involving wages and staffing.

They have yet to set a date, but talk within the union might focus on the holiday season and the end of the month.

"We've tried for eight months to find common ground with management on a contract to hire and hold onto the seasoned registered nurses that every hospital needs to ensure quality patient care," said Sue Weinstein, executive director of Local 121RN of the Service Employees International Union. "But (hospital CEO Richard) Yochum has rejected all our proposals."

Representatives from the hospital said they knew about the vote, but were not aware of the results of the recent strike authorization vote or what the union's intentions are. If the nurses do strike, said Kathy Roche, spokeswoman for the hospital, it would not be appropriate or in the best intentions of patients and the community. "We believe it would be irresponsible," Roche said. "But if they chose to do that, we would continue to provide high levels of patient care, as we always do."

The Wednesday vote by a 4-1 margin in favor of another strike was made by registered nurses who are presented by the SEIU, which has been in negotiations with the hospital since April.

"The hospital essentially refused to move off their position from their last (offer) several weeks ago," Weinstein said. "The nurses find that unacceptable."

The union's next step is to decided when to submit a strike notice.

Weinstein said the union has to give 10 days notice before going on strike at the hospital.

Nurses in the union twice walked the picket lines in September.

The key issues of concern to them are job security and staff-to-patient ratios.

(sgvtribune.com)

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