Nurses advocate for quality patient care and safe staffing levels
San Francisco, CA — SEIU Local 1021 Registered Nurses (RNs) working in San Francisco authorized their bargaining team to call a strike if an agreement is not reached on a new contract.
The city and county of San Francisco employs more than 1,700 RN’s at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), Laguna Honda Hospital and several public health community clinics.
“We don’t want to strike, but we will if we have to” said Rebecca King Morrow, RN and nurse leader. “We cannot accept staffing cuts and major concessions,”
Local 1021 RNs and city negotiators have been locked in negotiations for months. Both sides have asked for a neutral third-party mediator from California State Mediation and Conciliation Services.
A major point of contention for RNs is a city proposal to decrease staffing levels throughout SFGH and the emergency room. The emergency room is the only level one trauma center in the city and already has a high number of patients. Management has proposed to decrease safe staffing commitments in the areas with the highest demand.
“If you are rich or poor and you get badly hurt, you are coming to SFGH’s emergency room,” said Dan Merer, SFGH emergency room RN. “Decreased staffing levels could only compromise patient care and we won’t stand for that.”
In the past four years, Local 1021 members have provided millions of dollars in solutions to help with the city’s on-going budget deficits. The city continues to seek concessions.
While city negotiators are asking more from nurses, a majority of other city unions have settled without concessions and with cost of living increases.