Fil-Am nurses strike toward better patient care, higher wages

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Filipino-Americans were among the nearly one thousand nurses who occupied the entrance of the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center chanting and picketing during a recent two-day strike.

They claim that the county has failed to address patient health concerns, leaving the hospital understaffed and underequipped.

Since 7AM on October 6th, these nurses who are represented by the California Nurses Association walked off on the job citing that more than 100 nurses left county hospitals for higher wages at private hospitals in the last year alone.

“Nurses are on the decline so it’s not safe for the patients,” said Marlene Uri-Stanton, a registered nurse at the Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center. “Nurses are always working overtime – sometimes 16 hours, sometimes 24 hours. Then we only get two hours of sleep. How safe is that for the patient?”

Hospital officials say patient care was not compromised during the two-day strike, as they were able to provide replacement nurses.

“Everything is going well within the health center and the hospital,” said Victora Balladares, the Communications Officer of Contra Costa County. “Patients are receiving safe and high quality care. We recognize nurses are members of our team and very important member and we are trying to work hard to get things worked out and continue to provide services to our patients.”

The strike ended early Wednesday evening with all nurses returning to work; however, the nurses say they will continue to fight until their demands are met.

“There is no certainty in everything we have here but we will fight,” said Stanton. “We will fight! We will fight for our patient care.”

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors ensured the public that they are committed to reaching an agreement through further negotiations with the nurses.

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