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Santa Clara County nurses set for 3-day strike this week

Santa Clara Valley Healthcare is preparing for a systemwide nurses strike starting on Tuesday.

The nurses said that the chronic understaffing is a major problem and they are calling for increases to staffing, pay, benefits, and security. The three-day strike will last through Thursday.

For the next two days, fill-in nursing staff are being trained to keep up with patient care at the three hospitals and 13 clinics that will be impacted by the strike, though some patients had to reschedule their medical appointments.

Santa Clara Valley Healthcare’s Chief Experience Officer, Dr. Jennifer Tong said that patient care won’t be severely compromised during the strike.

“Clearly it’s very disruptive to our typical patient services. But we feel as though we have made the maximum effort to ensure that our services can continue to the community that we care for,” she said.

The Santa Clara County-owned health system has spent roughly $20 million to cover the strike and is bringing in more than 1,000 contracted nurses.

The nurses strike, while only for three days, will be widespread. The picket lines will be at all three of the county’s hospitals, which are O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, St. Louise Regional in Gilroy and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals in California.

Nurses across 13 county medical clinics are also expected to join the strike.

“We’re asking to be able to have the staffing that’s needed to keep our patients safe and to keep our nurses licensure safe,” said Maybelline Que, Registered Nurses Professional Association’s vice president.

Last month, 97% of the county nurses represented by the Registered Nurses Professional Association voted to support the strike. Contract negotiations with the county had reached an impasse.

Earlier this week, Susan Ellenberg, the president of Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors called the new contract terms on the table, which come with a 10.5% raise, “generous.”

“I believe the county has proposed generous terms that reflect competitiveness with area private employers,” she said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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