Uploaded: Monday, June 5, 2000 3 PM

Nurses, hospitals ready for strike

Stanford nurses inched closer to a strike today after failing to make progress in negotiations with Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals.

"We're not negotiating today," said nurses spokeswoman Kim Griffin. "We're meeting with our members and getting ready to go out."

The nurses union, the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement, has set a strike for 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Griffin said additional talks still may be held. "If the hospital came back with something, we would talk with them," she said.

There has been some movement in the negotiations, but not much. The union is now asking for pay raises of 12 and 10 percent over two years, while it previously had asked for 14.2 percent and 8 percent plus a cost-of-living adjustment.

The hospitals are offering 3 percent pay raises for each year of what would be a three-year contract.

There are also staffing and health benefit issues.

The union issued a press release late Sunday night saying that contract talks are at an impasse.

Earlier, the hospitals put plans in place to deal with a strike by their 1,700 nurses. The hospitals have contracted with U.S. Nursing Corp. to provide replacement nurses if a strike occurs.

Mike Goodkind, Stanford Hospital spokesman, said the replacement nurses are needed to keep the hospitals functioning and serving the community. "We regularly use nursing agencies when we require staffing at short notice," Goodkind said.

The union claims the hospitals will hire 500 replacement nurses who will work 12-hour shifts. It also claims that U.S. Nursing Corp. specializes in hiring nurses willing to cross picket lines.