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Quality Care Nevada
Right now I'm off to cover the nurse lock out. I'll fill you in later today.
This one isn't about money.
It's about patient care.
It's about unions protecting nurses so they can give quality care. That's not only their job, but their life mission.
I joined my first union when I was still in my teens. It was a performance
union that mattered a great deal to me. From wages to rehearsal hours, to the floor
surfaces on which we performed and danced upon, the union regulated everything. I went from AFTRA to joining
Actors Equity, to AGVA and then to SAG. I've been on honorary withdrawal for
ages, but I remember how much they mattered to me and everyone else. But the unions I belonged to didn't
actual have life and death consequences to any community, except performers. We didn't hold people's lives in our hands. So when I saw this
story late last night, to say it got my attention is an understatement.
A labor dispute between the Service Employees International Union and the
Valley Health System appeared headed toward a worker lockout and picketing
this morning at Valley Hospital Medical Center and Desert Springs Hospital
Medical Center in Las Vegas.
A labor contract for 800 local union nurses expired in May, and the two sides
have held contentious talks since the spring.
The nurses voted Nov. 18 to strike starting today. But a call was made Sunday
by several Nevada elected officials for a 30-day \”cooling-off\” period
to avert the strike and allow for fresh talks between the two parties.
The company released a statement late Sunday indicating that the union had
not withdrawn its notice of intent to strike, which is necessary to cancel
a walkout. The \”mixed developments\” compelled Valley Health to proceed
with its strike contingency plans, for which the company brought in several
hundred replacement nurses and technicians for a minimum of five days.
Not all 800 of the union nurses had planned to participate in the strike.
Nurses who had notified Valley Health of their intent to strike will be locked
out until Saturday, the company's statement said. …
Buckley said she, Gibbons and Reid would reach out today to Valley Health's
parent company, Universal Health Services, based in Pennsylvania, and ask
Universal Health's owners to fly to Las Vegas on Tuesday for talks. She said
Gibbons would fly from Washington, D.C., to Las Vegas for the meeting. ..
According to the RJ,
Universal Health Services owns 23 hospitals, 103 behavioral health centers
and seven outpatient-surgery centers across the United States.
Healthcare in Nevada has been at a crisis for many years, but this latest
event reaches the danger zone.
Nurses are striking because of staffing. One nurse sometimes takes care of
as many as 10 patients. Administrators say the staffing is just fine. But if
administrators don't back the corporate line they can be fired because they're
not union. Get it?
Overworking nurses so a corporation can make profits is not a way to run a
health care facility. Tomorrow talks are scheduled. This one is important, not only to Las Vegas, but to the entire country.