Patients Shouldn't Be Used As Pawns in Nurses' Union Political Agenda

Labor Union Strike Takes Nurses Away From Bedsides at Hospitals in Bay Area, Long Beach

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO, California Hospital Association:

Patients love their nurses.  Hospitals do too.  Nurses provide the caring touch and clinical expertise that is integral to ensuring high quality patient care every day in hospitals throughout California.  Sadly, the labor union that represents a minority of California nurses seems to have a different idea about the role nurses should play this holiday season.

Today, at the behest of union bosses at the California Nurses Association (CNA), more than 6,000 nurses at hospitals in Long Beach and the San Francisco Bay Area are being pressured to abandon their patients and instead walk picket lines. Union leaders say they are committed to patient care, but their actions don't match their words.  

It's hard to be hospitalized any time of the year, but it's especially difficult during the holidays. Patients rely on their nurses to help them heal and to provide them comfort. Ordering nurses away from bedsides and onto picket lines is not a professional way to care for patients.  The union's strike is designed to help its leaders advance their own agenda to gain national prominence.

Today's strike is not about patient care.  Nor is it about stalled contract negotiations.  The hospitals being targeted remain in contract talks with the union.  This strike is about CNA's attempt to grow its membership, increase the amount of union dues it collects, advance an aggressive political agenda and push for system-wide contracts rather than labor agreements with individual hospitals.  

Nurses are valuable employees, and they are extremely well paid.  In most cases, full-time nurses earn more than $100,000 per year, in addition to receiving generous employer-paid health care and healthy retirement benefits.  In this economy, union leaders should be asked: when is enough, enough?

Patients shouldn't be pawns in any union's political game.  Instead, the nurses' labor union leaders should be focused on caring for patients.

SOURCE California Hospital Association



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