Fil-Am nurses walk off job in demand for safe staffing, better working conditions

GREENBRAE, Calif. – The nurses of Marin General Hospital, a medical center north of San Francisco, are asking for the basic demands of safety and better working conditions.

After 11 months of negotiations, some 520 registered nurses walked off the job.

They claim management refuses to address patient care and safety issues despite the reported $49 million in profits the hospital has made over the last three years.

Virginia Currie, a registered nurse at MGH for 21 years, said, “We wanted to let management know that that we have a voice. We have a message to them that we are standing united because we are tired of the abuses.”

The nurses are demanding for an additional nurse per department, to assist in providing break relief.

And due to the significant risk of injuries, the nurses are requesting sufficient lift equipment or a 24-hour access to lift teams.

Carlo Medina, who works in cardiac specialty unit, said, “A nurse will try and lift a patient by themselves or push a patient and there’s a lot of force that one nurse cannot do. But they do it because we are healers. We really try to do our best under the circumstances we have.”

In an email to Balitang America, Jamie Maites, Director of Communications for MGH, called the nurse’s strike “irresponsible and unjustified”.

Maites goes on to state that the hospital has not introduced any changes to the proposed collective bargaining agreement in many other contracts across northern California.

In response to the claims of unsafe staffing, Maites says serious employee injuries and associated claims has been reduced since 2010 and that the hospital maintains a patient safety record that is above the national average.

The hospital temporarily hired about 200 replacement nurses to fill in for the strikers.

Following the strike, both sides have said they look forward to returning to the negotiating table.

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  • Joe
    6 November 2015 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Go ahead, go on strike there are several registered nurses in California who are waiting to take over your job.This temporary workers are willing NOT TO JOIN your Union.