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VIDEO: St. Mary’s hospital nurses go on strike

By Bob Conrad

St. Mary’s Medical Center nurses went on strike today. About 400 nurses, members of the California Nurses Association, voted to strike for 24 hours, and they walked off the job today to protest at the downtown hospital.

One nurse, Kaitlin McDaniel, said the hospital’s staffing-to-patient ratio is unsafe for patients.

“It’s a really difficult time to work at St. Mary’s for a nurse. We have more patients than evidence shows is safe to have … and it’s causing a lot of moral distress for us,” she said. “When we have too many patients … we ultimately cannot give them the care that they need.”

McDaniel said the strike today is only for 24 hours but more strike activities could occur. She said the hospital was given nearly two weeks notice to avoid the strike.

“We’re asking for a fair contract. We’re currently the lowest paying hospital in the region,” she added. “That combined with the unsafe working conditions, we’re bleeding nurses. We can’t retain anyone.”

Some non-union nurses were still working today, but more than 400 nurses voted for the strike today.

St. Mary’s is owned by Prime Healthcare, which operates dozens of facilities around the U.S. 

“We look forward to returning to the negotiations to establish an agreement that represents the best interests of patients, nurses, employees, and the communities served by Saint Mary’s,” said Elizabeth Nikels, Prime Healthcare’s VP of communications and PR. “During the strike, the hospital will continue providing high-quality medical care to the community with staff who are properly credentialed and prepared to provide care during this time.”

Nurses twice in 2020 protested at the hospital, citing what they called unsafe working conditions during the pandemic. 

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