(BCN) — Registered nurses AHMC Seton Medical Center in Daly City said Monday they planned to go on strike this week over what they call a chronic lack of supplies, understaffing and patient care issues.
Members of the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United said in a release that the medical center allegedly frequently violates state mandated safe-staffing ratios by understaffing units, including the COVID unit, which they say has led to an increase in patient falls.
Julie Tran, a union spokesperson, also said that nurses are dealing with a persistent lack of supplies, including oxygen, surgery supplies, wipes, diapers, bed pads, and linens.
The two-day strike is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the Medical Center at 1900 Sullivan Ave. Nurses say they will picket from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., and again from 2 to 5 p.m., with a rally at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Sarkis Vartanian, an administrator at AHMC Seton, said in an emailed statement that the medical center had made every effort to resolve the impasse, but said Seton cannot afford the wages the nurses are currently asking for. “Meeting CNA’s leadership current demands is unrealistic and not feasible for the long-term needs of the community,” Vartanian said.
Tran accused hospital management of consistently avoiding attending scheduled negotiating sessions, which have been ongoing since December.
One registered nurse at the medical center, Michelle Kubota, said she feels like hospital management is not being responsive to the nurses’ concerns, and that nurses felt a strike was the only option at this point. “We are working without proper supplies, without appropriate staff, and nurses being asked to do two or more jobs at once,” Kubota said in the release from the California Nurses Association.
Nurses previously held a one-day strike in late May.
Tran said union members are also protesting the closure of a geriatric psychiatric unit of the hospital. The union wanted patients transferred to other parts of the medical center while seismic repairs are made.
Vartanian did not respond to the allegations of lack of supplies, chronic understaffing, unsafe conditions including more patient falls in the COVID unit, or the cancellation of negotiating sessions. Vartanian said the complexity of the geriatric psychiatric unit made its temporary closure necessary during construction, and the unit is expected to reopen in 120 days.
Speakers at Wednesday’s rally will include San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, Daly City Mayor Roderick Daus-Mabual, Daly City Council Member Pamela DiGiovanni; Colma City Council Members John Goodwin and Diana Colvin, and Ray Mueller, candidate for the San Mateo Board of Supervisors, District 3.
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