Thousands of nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard Children’s hospitals in Palo Alto, Calif., have authorized the union representing them to call a strike.
In an April 8 news release, the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement said more than 4,500 nurses at Stanford and Packard, or 93 percent of all nurses eligible, voted in favor of strike authorization. They are calling on hospital management to adequately address staffing, citing consistent overtime and nurses’ complaints of inadequate resources, training or staff. They also seek improved access to mental health counseling, as well as competitive wages and benefits.
“The decision by members to overwhelmingly authorize a strike shows that we are fed up with the status quo of working conditions at the hospitals,” Colleen Borges, union president and a nurse in the pediatric oncology department, said in the release. “We need contracts that allow us to care for ourselves and our families so we can continue providing world-class care.”
Nurses authorized the strike after bargaining for the last 13 weeks and are working without contracts. The vote does not mean a strike will occur, but it gives the union the ability to issue an official strike notice.
In a statement shared with Becker’s, Stanford expressed its support for negotiations rather than a strike.
“We are committed, through good faith bargaining, to reach agreement on new contracts that provide nurses a highly competitive compensation package, along with proposals that further our commitment to enhancing staffing and wellness benefits for nurses,” the statement said.
The hospital also said it is taking the steps to prepare for the possibility of a strike, while hoping a strike is averted.
“Given the progress we have made by working constructively with the union, we should be able to reach agreements that will allow us to continue to attract and retain the high caliber of nurses who so meaningfully contribute to our hospitals’ reputation for excellence,” the statement read.