SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KOLO)-- UPDATE 2/12/19: According to a statement from Barton Health, the nurses’ union has notified Barton Health it has withdrawn its strike notice.
In response to this notice, Barton agreed to cancel the use of replacement nurses. Accordingly, Barton RNs will work their normal schedules, and Barton Health will be fully operational.
Barton and the nurses’ union have rescheduled bargaining for February 19, 2019. Barton Health says it "looks forward to continuing discussions and working collaboratively toward a fair and equitable contract for all."
ORIGINAL STORY: Nurses at a South Lake Tahoe hospital are threatening to hold a one-
day strike February 15, 2019 if the hospital doesn’t do more to keep experienced nurses and improve staffing.
The California Nurses Association announced the planned strike against Barton Memorial Hospital. They also protested an announced four-day lockout if they do strike. The association said the hospital falsely said it can only hire replacement nurses for a minimum of five days.
The hospital sent a statement Thursday night that said it is taking steps to ensure high-quality health care is available without disruption.
“When hospitals and healthcare providers receive a strike notice from CNA – which has occurred numerous times over the years – the union knows that healthcare providers such as Barton Health are required to hire qualified replacement nurses to replace striking nurses,” the hospital said in a statement. “Barton's contract with the staffing agency requires a 5 day minimum for the replacement nurses, which is standard. As a result, nurses who choose to strike on February 15, 2019 will return to work on February 20, 2019, or soon thereafter based on the schedule.”
Barton nurses voted to join the CNA in November 2017 and have been in negotiations with the hospital since March.
The CNA statement said “it is particularly disturbing that Barton would lock out its own nurses, causing unnecessary hardship, when the hospital has put a quarter of its nurses in collections for care they received at the hospital.”
The hospital said in the statement they are actively negotiating with CNA.
“We are in active negotiations with the union and have been meeting regularly since March of 2018,” the statement said. “We’ve made progress with 26 tentative agreements and have yet to discuss wages and benefits. We’re hopeful negotiations can continue as nobody wins in a strike.
“Barton will continue to provide exceptional patient care during the strike. We’ve hired qualified replacement nurses who are specially trained for this type of work and will work alongside Barton staff and physicians,” the hospital statement said.