Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey nurses vote to authorize strike – Daily News

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When Sophia Sabido recently took a trip with her family, work was the farthest thing from her mind.

The 36-year-old nurse, who handles case management for emergency room patients at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, was glad for the break. But her mood quickly dissolved when she returned.

“I was gone five days, and when I came back three of our four full-time case managers who work during the day were gone,” the 36-year-old Marina del Rey resident said. “I was the only one left.”

The departing employees found jobs at other area hospitals with better pay and benefits, Sabido said.

That helps explain why 98% of the more than 300 nurses at Cedars voted Thursday, July 27 to authorize a strike. They claim severe understaffing and employee burnout have undermined patient care at the facility.

They are represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United; their labor contract expired Feb. 28. They say the hospital has refused to address the issue of nurse recruitment and retention.

The union hasn’t indicated when a walkout might occur.

Sophia Sabido, who handles case management for emergency room patients at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, participated in an informational picket at the facility in March. The nurses have voted to authorize a strike, claiming severe understaffing and employee burnout have undermined patient care at the facility. (Photo courtesy of the California Nurses Association)

“Management resorts to staffing our hospital with temporary contract nurses who often outnumber staff RNs,” Sabido said. “We know the best nursing care comes from permanent staff RNs who are fierce advocates for their patients and are committed to improving the hospital.”

In a statement issued Tuesday, Cedars said it deeply values its nurses and “we have long recognized their importance by providing highly competitive pay and benefits.”

Management said the hospital remains “committed to reaching a fair agreement that continues to recognize their value.”

Nurses say the two sides need to forge a labor contract that will allow Cedars to effectively recruit and retain experienced nurses.

“The understaffing is delaying patients getting transferred and discharged,” Sabido said. “A patient may be calling for a nurse, but we’re so short-staffed that we may be busy with five other patients. Sometimes, they’re leaving without the medical equipment they need.”

A report from the Hospital Association of Southern California found that nursing vacancy rates among local hospitals exceed 30%. Before COVID-19, the average vacancy rate was 6%.

CNA noted that Cedars is also pushing to waive the nurses’ right to bargain on bereavement, jury duty, paid time off and securing continuing education credits.

“In addition, the hospital refused to accept workplace violence prevention proposals that would ensure that the facility was abiding by the California Violence Prevention law,” a union representative said.

Merrilee Marks, a nurse in the hospital’s post-anesthesia care unit, said nurses rose to the occasion and risked their lives during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hospital administration called us heroes … but now they refuse to invest in nurses,” she said.



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