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500+ nurses in SLO Co. to go on 24-hour strike

Replacement nurses will be brought in at Sierra Vista and Twin Cities
Posted at 1:17 PM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 21:46:41-04

Replacement nurses will be brought in as thousands of Tenet Healthcare nurses will be striking this week both locally and across the country.

The strikes are in response to negotiations underway for the past several months between The California Nurses Association and Tenet Healthcare, the corporation that owns Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton.

Friday, for 24 hours, nurses locally, along with five other hospitals in California, two in Arizona and two in Florida, are going on strike.

Janice Ames, a registered nurse who has worked at Sierra Vista for more than 40 years, says, "We believe a good contract is a great and effective tool to create and retain great nurses and provide great patient care."

She says they're hoping to get wording into the new contract that allows for less overtime and fewer on-call periods, along with staffing coverage for meals and breaks, something she says they don't currently have at Sierra Vista and that all lead to fatigue and being emotionally drained. "Our goal is to provide the best patient care we possibly can. Patients are our passion," Ames said.

This week's strike is expected to impact more than 500 nurses at Sierra Vista and Twin who will not be working from 7 a.m. Friday to 6:59 a.m. Saturday.

Ames says this strike is different from an informational picket that took place in May outside the two hospitals where nurses were still going into work.

Tenet has reportedly had more than a week to prepare for the strike. Ames says that by law, they have to give a 10-day notice so that replacement nurses can be brought in and patient care is not jeopardized.

Tenet sent the following statement to KSBY News: "The California Nurses Association, the labor union that represents many of our California nurses, has announced its intention to hold a strike on Sept. 20 at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and Twin Cities Community Hospital.

We have been negotiating in good faith with union representatives over the last few months in an effort to reach a new contract. We are disappointed that the union is taking this approach. We have made progress toward a new contract and will continue to negotiate in hopes of reaching a successful resolution.

We value our relationship with all our employees and we are committed to resolving the contract negotiations. While we respect the nurses' right to strike, patients and their loved ones can be assured that our patients will continue to be cared for by qualified replacement registered nurses and other caregivers during any strike action.

We remain focused on providing safe, quality care to our patients."