Home Nursing job LA County nurses avoid strike with tentative work deal – Daily News

LA County nurses avoid strike with tentative work deal – Daily News

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Nearly 7,000 Los Angeles County nurses reached a tentative labor agreement with the county on Thursday, narrowly averting a three-day strike over unfair labor practices that was scheduled to begin June 1.

The workers, represented by SEIU 721reached an 11-hour deal that calls for stronger job protections and less outsourcing of jobs at county hospitals and health care facilities, while ensuring competitive wages to retain nurses.

The strike reportedly affected the Department of Health Services, Department of Public Health and Department of Mental Health at LA County facilities.

Just a few weeks ago, ahead of a wave of round-the-clock contract negotiations, SEIU 721 members from all bargaining units authorized an unfair labor practices strike with 98% approval.

The union said a nursing strike would have impacted operations at LAC+USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center in Willowbrook, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, and High Desert Regional Health Center in Lancaster.

In a statement released Thursday, the county’s public health department said it was “pleased that a tentative agreement has been reached with SEIU Local 721 that honors the contributions of healthcare workers and ensures continued quality patient care and essential pandemic response operations”.

SEIU 721 President David Green said nurses have made “incredible sacrifices on the front lines” during the COVID-19 pandemic and have bargained hard in the negotiations. (Photo courtesy of SEIU 721)

The nurse and nurse supervisor bargaining units will now join 26 other bargaining units and 48,000 other county workers represented by SEIU 721 who entered into tentative labor agreements on May 14. They will all vote on whether they ratify their agreements from early June.

Other county employees range from medical staff and social service employees to wardens and other employees of the county parks and recreation department, the county library system, and those working as unsworn employees of the sheriff’s department.

These workers were seeking increases in the cost of living, the maintenance of full health care coverage and an end to the outsourcing of employment.

SEIU 721 President David Green said nurses have made “incredible sacrifices on the front lines” during the COVID-19 pandemic and have bargained hard in the negotiations.

“COVID has impacted our ranks, which were already hard hit by years of underfunded public health care,” he said. “Now we are committed to addressing this issue and we have the power of our union to make sure the plan comes to fruition.”

Green said the union is adamantly opposed to the county’s practice of outsourcing nursing jobs.

“We will have traveling nurses working alongside our SEIU nurses, and sometimes they earn more than our nurses,” he said. “So a nurse could earn $2,000 more than the nurse next door. And it’s not just with the nurses, it’s also with other departments. It’s the county’s dirty little secret, and we want people to know it.

Green said the county should “source” more nursing jobs, rather than attracting nonunion nurses from other sources.

“They need to reduce outsourcing and pay our nurses more,” he said. “We need better communication so we can talk to our managers and negotiate pay and workloads. We all ran empty.