California nurses stage one-day strike

Dec. 23, 2011 at 1:31 AM

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Thousands of nurses participated in a one-day job action Thursday at 11 California hospitals, their union said.

National Nurses United said the strike affected two hospitals in Long Beach owned by Memorial Care Health System and nine in the San Francisco area owned by Sutter Health, CNN reported. Nurses at the Long Beach hospitals say they have been told they will be out of work for four more days because replacements were hired for five days.

Nurses at the hospitals are in contract negotiations and say the hospital operators are trying to impose drastic increases in health insurance payments on them. Staffing levels are also an issue.

Dr. Susan Melvin, chief medical officer at Long Beach Memorial, said about 30 percent of the nurses there crossed the picket line. She said the hospital was functioning and meeting required nurse-to-patient ratios.

The union said 2,000 nurses participated in the strike in Long Beach and 4,000 in the San Francisco area.

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