Filipino nurses join strike vs. two Bay Area hospitals to fight for patient care

SAN LEANDRO — Chants like these went on all day as nurses picketed outside of San Leandro hospital.

Among them was Filipina registered nurse Ashley Stella.

She along with other Filipino nurses at San Leandro and Alameda hospitals said they joined the strike for the safety of their patients and co-workers.

They claimed there are not enough nurses hired for each unit to adequately care for their number of patients.

“You only have one to four. And medical surgical have one to five. But since sometimes we’re short staffed we mix and that’s not good for patients.”

Stella is a member of the California Nurses Association or CNA, which has been negotiating with the Alameda Health System for the past 10 months.

The union, which represents over 400 nurses at both locations, said it is suing the hospitals for failing to bargain in good faith.

CNA accused the hospital management of proposing wholesale elimination of contract provisions that have been in place for decades, creating changes without bargaining with the union, overhauling hiring practices of new hires and alternating the nurses’ health plans.

“They said that they can change it anytime they want. And they want us to pay a premium already. So that means to say our benefits won’t be as good. I’m afraid to cover my family. We’re going to spend more.“

And aside from benefits, the nurses said they deserve quality care themselves.

“We are exposed to many infectious diseases and we want to get protected from it.”

The strike was scheduled to only last for 24 hours.

The Nurses’ Union hopes they sent a clear message to management and pledged to go on strike again — if management does not budge.

“We don’t like to go on strike but we can’t let what’s happening continue to happen. And we’ve had unfair labor practices, and that has to stop. That’s not okay,” said RN Carol Barazi.

According to KCBS Radio — in a statement, the Alameda Health System said it is committed to the patients and is taking all appropriate steps to minimize the effect of the strike on patient care.

Travel nurses were brought in to temporarily replace the striking nurses.

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