Dozens of health care workers took to the picket lines at the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez Tuesday, planning a march to the Board of Supervisors meeting at 8 a.m.
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is asking the county to improve working conditions and to stop what they maintain is the drain of experienced nurses to private hospitals. CNA notes there is a 30 percent wage gap for County RNs compared to the nearby private hospitals, and over 100 nurses have left the County in the last year.
The nurses association point out that its nurses care for some of the sickest and most vulnerable members of the community, who seek care at Contra Costa County’s safety net hospital and outpatient clinics, and say that there patient load is increasing while work conditions decline.
The strike remains in effect from 7 a.m. Tuesday through Wednesday.
In a release issued Tuesday morning, Contra Costa Health Services Director William Walker said center officials have taken necessary steps to ensure continued patient care during the action.
“The care and safety of our patients is our top priority and we hope to be able to resolve this as quickly as possible,” Walker wrote.
The Superior Court of California granted the center a preliminary injunction requiring some nurses from Detention Services, Inpatient Psychiatric Services and Psychiatric Emergency Services to report to work during the strike. An additional 120 nurses have been brought in to replace those workers on the picket lines, Walker said.