In the past two weeks, there have been nurse strikes at hospitals in several states including Pennsylvania, California, Washington and Connecticut.
The day before Thanksgiving, over 800 nurses, therapists and technicians at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, Connecticut went on strike. The strike ended on November 30th but striking nurses have been locked out and are not expected to be allowed to return to work until a new contract is ratified. Contract negotiations resume on November 10th. This is the first strike by nurses at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital. In November 2009, unions representing RNs, LPNs and technicians at the hospital voted to authorize a strike but the strike was averted after a resolution was reached.
AFT Healthcare in Connecticut has recently started airing a local television ad campaign titled “I am L&M” to raise public awareness of its positions.
On December 3rd, 275 nurses at Watsonville Community Hospital in Watsonville, California
began a 24-hour strike over understaffing and other issues. The nurses at Watsonville Community Hospital have been working without a contract since October 1st. The same day, nurses at Barstow Community Hospital (in Barstow, California) and Wilkes-Barre General Hospital (in Pennsylvania) also went on strike. All three hospitals are owned by Community Health Systems in Franklin, Tennessee.
National Nurses United, the largest nurse union and professional association in the United States, helped organize the strikes along with the California Nurses Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals. The same day, National Nurses United also picketed two other Community Health Systems (CHS) hospitals: Affinity Medical Center in Massillion, Ohio and Greenbrier Valley Medical Center in Roncevrte, West Virginia. It also held press conferences at two other CHS hospitals: Bluefield Regional Medical Center in Bluefield, West Virginia and Fallbrook Hospital in Fallbrook, California.
On December 4th, nearly 1000 registered nurses and hospital workers at Valley Hospital and Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane, Washington began a 24-hour strike. Strikers at Deaconess Medical Center were allowed to return to work at the end of the strike while nurses at Valley Hospital were temporarily locked out until the contracts for temporary replacement nurses ended on December 7th.