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thousands of santa clara county nurses walk off the job in 3 day strike

Thousands of Santa Clara County nurses walk off the job in 3-day strike

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — Santa Clara County nurses from the Registered Nurses Professional Association here have been out on the picket lines since 4:59 a.m. Tuesday morning, to demand more from the county. While they are looking for a raise, they’re also fighting for better workplace conditions and staffing during their scheduled three-day strike. “We want to be in there but we’re desperate, the county’s not working with us,” registered nurse Jennifer Hughes said. RNPA nurses are holding the first strike in the union’s history. Some tentative agreements have been made with Santa Clara County on key terms including workplace safety, but a sticking point is money. The union is asking for a 15% wage increase through October 2025. It rejected the latest county proposal of 13%. MORE: 75,000 Kaiser union workers strike over staffing issues, wages “It wasn’t because of the money, it was because of the working conditions and floating us to the other hospitals,” RNPA Vice President Maybelline Que said. Hughes, a psychiatric nurse with the county for 11 years, says along with better staffing she wants to see safety improvements like more security, alarms, and even metal detectors. “We just would like more staffing, more [Patient Safety Organizations], security to help keep us safe,” Hughes said. And others want to limit floating positions, saying working at multiple facilities poses a safety risk. “It’s not safe for one nurse to be moved to another hospital and give care in those units because what happens is, we don’t know the policy for that floor, and we won’t be able to provide the care that we need to,” Que said. “Also, in an emergency, we’re in an unfamiliar environment, we don’t know where all the supplies are.” Santa Clara County says the three-day strike may impact primary care and clinics, resulting in postponements. But the county says it will spend $20 million to keep essential services running with temporary staff during the strike. “That’s really disheartening because that could have been money that they gave to their own nurses who care and love the patient population that we take care of and instead of doing that, they chose to use the travelers to cover for the nurses who are out on strike,” Que said. County leaders have previously said they are “taking all necessary steps to safeguard patients, clients, employees, and visitors from the impacts” of this strike. “Healthcare professionals are part of the backbone of our safety net system and our nurses deserve fair and competitive compensation,” County Executive James R. Williams said. “That’s why the County has provided 30% to 42% wage increases for RNPA members since 2020. During this round of negotiations, the County has offered RNPA the additional wage increases we can afford without further jeopardizing our financial stability and putting critical services for the community at risk.” The strike is set to end by 6:59 a.m. on Friday, April 5.

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