Registered nurses are organizing a one day strike on Friday, September 20 at Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare hospitals in Arizona, California, and Florida to draw attention to improve staffing and working conditions. Nurses at Tenet facilities in El Paso will not be striking, but will be handing out pamphlets and doing other public outreach.
The Arizona strike will be the first ever for nurses in the state, and the Florida strike will be the first hospital-based nurse strike in the state. Nursing shortages are happening all over the country, and Texas is one of the states most at risk. The shortages give the nurses leverage to fight for better conditions. There are 448,000 registered nurses in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas who are not practicing, according to the National Nursing Database, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Arizona State Board of Nursing and California Board of Registered Nursing.
“We believe that more nurses in these states with active RN licenses would return to work at the hospital bedside if there were staffing and other working conditions that supported their providing optimal care to patients,” said Janice Ames, a Tenet nurse via release. “With this strike action we are expressing our unity and commitment to win conditions that support this goal.”
When Tenet took over the St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s hospital in Tucson, changing the hospital from nonprofit to for-profit, the nurses there unionized.
“We are going to be striking on Friday for our patients, so that they can get optimal care,” Fawn Slade, a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s told Tucson.com. “We are urging the hospital to invest in the nursing staff and take that step to strengthen the recruitment and retention of experienced, registered nurses.”
In a statement to Tucson.com, Tenet officials said the company values the nursing staff and will work to resolve the conflict. “We have been negotiating in good faith with union representatives over the last few months in an effort to reach a new contract, which we have made considerable progress on, and we will continue to negotiate in hopes of reaching a successful resolution,” the statement said.
Nurses will be striking in 12 hospitals across Arizona, Florida, and California. You can see the exact locations here.