Uploaded: Tuesday, June 7, 2000 1 PM
Stanford nurses go on strike
Shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday, night shift nurses walked out of the
main entrance to Stanford Hospital to the cheers and applause of hundreds
of other nurses.
Darren Batara and Jeanette Sobejana (left) walk the picket lines
outside Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals Wednesday
morning, where more than 1,700 members of the nurses union have
gone on strike.
After negotiating until 12:40 a.m., contract talks ended and about 1,730
nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals went on strike.
The two sides are far apart on salary. The final positions before the
7 a.m. walkout were 21.5 percent in pay raises over two years by the union
and 8 percent over two years by the hospitals.
Staffing and health care benefits are also being negotiated.
The hospitals have hired replacement nurses from a Denver-based
nursing agency, U.S. Nursing Corp.
Inside both hospitals, physicians
and administrators could be seen huddling, making arrangements to continue
with hospital operations. Information tables for the replacement nurses
were set up in the main hospital's first-floor cafeteria.
hospital patient census remained high, and hospital spokesman Mike Goodkind
said there was no attempt to reduce the number of inpatients before the
Although several hundred replacement nurses were working,
not everything went smoothly immediately after the strike begun.
nurses from various hospital units walked out at 7 a.m., the nurses' union,
the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement, announced at 7:30
that nurses in Packard's pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and neonatal
intensive care unit (NICU) were still working.
Later, the hospital
made a formal request for the Packard nurses to remain on duty.
Cerini, a NICU nurse, came out at one point to confer with CRONA president
Sue Weinstein. Cerini said the NICU had about 35 patients and more than
20 nurses, but only six replacement nurses had shown up.
will not abandon our patients," Weinstein said. "We are asking for a formal
request (from the hospital) to stay."
"Several NICU nurses have
agreed to stay to help critically ill patients," Goodkind later confirmed.
"We're all looking for patient care and patient safety."
in other areas of the hospital was more than adequate. A group of nurses
from the maternity and well-baby wards said a sufficient number of replacement
nurses had shown up at their wards.
For some nurses, patient
safety will be an issue during the strike, with 400-500 replacement nurses
working 12-hour shifts, possibly day after day. On many nursing units,
full-time CRONA nurses typically work three 12-hour shifts a week.
Sean Garvey holds a sign for his mother, one of the striking
"Absolutely, we have fears about patient safety," Weinstein said.
also nursing shortages in some areas, which means many nurses often work
overtime, said Kim Griffin, spokeswoman for CRONA and a radiology nurse.
Griffin said the operating rooms are among the most short-staffed.
is no mandatory overtime," Griffin said, "but when you're in the middle
of a liver transplant operation that will take four more hours, you don't
leave because your shift is over."
Nurses in both the maternity
and adult intensive care units said voluntary overtime is common in their
units to make up for staffing needs.
"You can't adequately take
care of your patients when you're tired and there's too much to do," said
Laura Heldebrant, an adult ICU nurse. "In our unit, we're sad because
of our patients. We don't like to leave our patients."
added that family members of ICU patients "have been very supportive,
because they see our work and value it."
Felix Barthelemy, Stanford
Hospital vice president for human resources, said Monday, "Quality, safe
patient care is our highest priority and we will continue to monitor closely
the care our patients will be receiving."
As of early Wednesday
afternoon, no new negotiating sessions had been set. CRONA called for
a membership meeting Thursday afternoon in front of the hospital.
said a federal mediator has been participating in the talks.
before the strike, both sides expressed a willingness to keep talking.
"We're willing, but we have nothing scheduled," Weinstein said Wednesday