Rady Children's Hospital

Nurses at Rady Children's Hospital set to strike on July 22

The strike is set to start on Monday, July 22, and last for 48 hours

NBC Universal, Inc.

Nurses at Rady Children’s Hospital gave their 10-day intent-to-strike notice. The strike is set to start on Monday, July 22, and last for 48 hours.

The United Nurses of Children's Hospital, the union that represents more than 1,500 nurses at the hospital, says 95% of members voted to authorize a strike earlier this week.

Lack of fair wages and adequate benefits led to a breakdown of negotiations on Monday, the union said. It led to the nurses having no choice but to go on strike and creating conditions at the hospital that will lead to longer wait times, disrupted patient care and rescheduling of appointments and procedures.

"Rady Children's Hospital has forced our hand," said Katie Langenstrass, Executive Director of UNOCH Teamsters Local 1699. "Our members are passionate about their work and their patients. However, the hospital's persistent undervaluation of their dedication and skill has left us no choice. Despite the hospital's total operating revenue increasing to $1.6 billion in 2023, they continue to refuse to compensate our members fairly. All while its nurses are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. It's just not right."

They have been negotiating with Rady for months. For its part, Rady says its nurses are paid market rate and were recently offered raises.

The union says hospitals report low wages, especially when compared to staff at other local hospitals. On top of that, rising health care costs are creating consistent staffing issues that have existed for years. The employee's share of medical premiums has increased by nearly 34% over the past five years.

"We have been behind on wages for years, and it's becoming impossible to retain talented nurses," said Marie Wahl, a registered nurse at Rady Children's Hospital. "Many of our colleagues leave after just one to two years for better-paying positions at other hospitals. This constant turnover disrupts patient care and places an unfair burden on those of us who are left. This strike is about more than just wages, it's about patient care."

"We take this responsibility very seriously and will now use this authorization to further our fight for fair pay and benefits. We will meet with our team as well as the hospital's team tomorrow," a statement from the UNOCH Teamsters Local 1699 read.

On Tuesday, both sides told NBC 7 they have the same goals.

"We love the community that we serve. So, our goal is to get a good contract," Katie Langenstrass, a nurse told NBC 7.

"All we want to do is continue to take care of the kids in the excellent way that we always do," Chris Abe, Rady Children's Hospital VP of Operations told NBC 7.

Rady tells NBC 7 that it plans to bring in quality replacement nurses with experience caring for children if a strike happens.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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