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Nearly 5,000 nurses at Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., went on strike Monday as they negotiate better pay, more staff and more support for their mental health.
Nurses at the two hospitals went on strike Monday morning after the Committee for the Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA), the union representing nurses, announced the strike on Sunday.
The union says 93% of nurses voted to authorize the strike.
“As one of the nation’s top health care systems, Stanford and Packard have an opportunity to show leadership and work with nurses to address the burnout and burnout that drives many us to reconsider our jobs and our profession,” said Colleen Borges, President. of CRONA and a pediatric oncology nurse at Packard Children’s Hospital in a press release.
“A strike has always been the last resort for nurses at CRONA, but we are prepared to stand strong and make the sacrifices today for the transformative changes that the nursing profession and our patients need.”
The union says nurses gave hospitals advance notice on April 13 of their intention to strike after hospital management and the union failed to reach an agreement.
The employment contracts of the nurses at the two hospitals expired on March 31.
“Nurses…really want change in hospitals and the only way to achieve that is to stand up and fight,” critical care nurse clinician Kimberley Reed said in an interview with local broadcaster ABC. 7 News.
Reed, who worked as a nurse at Stanford for 18 years, told ABC 7 News she’s seen a culture change at the hospital over time.
“Things started to turn into more of a business situation rather than a patient one,” Reed told ABC 7.
In an interview with NPR, Dale Beatty, chief nursing officer at Stanford Health Care, said Stanford values its nurses and its contract offer reflects that.
“We’re very committed to our proposal and we’re very committed to our package. We think it’s very generous,” Beatty said. “We’re really interested in sorting this out and bringing our nurses and our union back to the table, so we can negotiate and move forward.”
The union has not announced an end date for the strike, but representatives are due to meet with hospital officials on Tuesday.
The strike follows other recent strikes by nurses. Last week, thousands of nurses staged a one-day strike at 15 facilities across Northern California. And earlier this month, nurses at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC, staged a one-day strike to complain about low pay.