The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

California University Nurses Set to Strike

by Brendan Coyne

July 19, 2005 – University of California medical administrators have still not met with the nurses union since an overwhelming July 7 vote to go on strike, reports the Daily Bruin, the University of California at Los Angeles student newspaper.

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Nurses working for the California University medical system overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer and announced a one-day job action for Thursday to protest what the union considers the state’s failure to deal fairly, the California Nurses Association (CNA) announced earlier this month.

According to the CNA statement, three main points of disagreement between the University and union – all related to safety and health – led fully 95 percent of participating members to reject a contract offer and authorize the strike.

The nurses accuse the state of attempting to undermine retirement plans, imposing dangerous staff-to-patient ratios and refusing to adopt safe lifting policies, which include supplying lift-assistance equipment.

In statements posted to its website, the University medical system disputes several portions of CNA claims about reductions to the pension system, though it does acknowledge that officials are looking into ways to lower costs throughout the University health system.

Under California law, the nurses are barred from striking. University officials have not indicated if they intend to file a complaint with the Public Employment Relations Board, the state body that oversees workplace regulations for public workers.

The UC Davis medical campus was preparing for Thursday’s strike by eliminating many services, including closing the emergency room to walk-in traffic and away turning all but the most critical patients, according to the Sacramento Business Journal, which also reported that university officials have already hired replacement workers.

The union expects about 9,000 nurses to participate in the one-day action.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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