California nurses declare: ‘Patients over profits!’
This statement was released Oct.7 by the Organizing Committee of the Workers Assembly.
Over 1,000 nurses in California began a five-day strike on Oct. 7 to protest hospital management’s failure to protect nurses and patients in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Movement for Workers Assemblies stands with nurses!
California nurses in the Alameda Health System and San Joaquin County will stay off the job from Oct. 7- 12 in response to management’s refusal to address RN’s well-founded concerns around patient care, safe patient staffing and adequate personal protective equipment. The three hospitals involved are Alameda, San Leandro and Highland Hospital.
The unions striking are California Nurses Association, SEIU Local 1021 and International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Local 6.
The nurses are frustrated that their professional expertise is discounted and disrespected by administrators. The strike will call attention to how nurses are frontline essential workers who know better than anyone what protections are needed during the worst pandemic in history.
This bold action is a great example of what not only the labor movement but all workers must do to defend their rights and their lives.
The nurses in California gave management a 10-day notice of the strike authorization which was taken due to the history of management’s bad faith at the bargaining table, punitive actions that hinder retention of experienced nurses, as well as persistent short staffing.
“Our patients are some of the most marginalized people in our communities and we have an obligation to stand up for them and to demand that the county provide us the tools we need to keep ourselves…. our patients…and our communities safe,” said Mawata Kamara, an RN at San Leandro Hospital and a member of the CNA board of directors. “We do not take lightly the decision to strike during a pandemic, but we feel we have no choice if we are going to get the changes we need to provide the very best care for our patients during this critical time.”
“As a [San Joaquin] county RN, I have committed to serving and caring for my community and I simply cannot allow the board of supervisors to erode our working conditions and our contract,” said Stacey Lo, RN. “When the county is attacking us nurses, they are directly attacking the patients, and we as nurses must stand up against that, which is why I support this strike.” (tinyurl.com/y5wfny3p)
Hospital administration’s disregard for nurses is not new and is not confined to California. It is a systemic problem across this country where profit drives patient care. Nurses stand in direct opposition to this operational model. They know that patient care cannot be about the “bottom line.” Every patient deserves quality nursing care when they are sick. It cannot be reduced to a commodity. Nurses form the backbone of any health care system. They need to be taken very seriously when it comes to patient survival during this pandemic.
This strike by the brave nurses in California should be a call to action to all nurses across the country to join forces with other workers at this critical time. The Organizing Committee of the Workers Assembly believes we need to develop the working class into a mass movement that can defeat the capitalist forces of greed that are undermining the security and well-being of the oppressed.
To send messages of solidarity to CNA, email: [email protected]