Tucson nurses picket as part of multi-state demonstration

Published: May. 28, 2019 at 8:57 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Nurses gathered outside St. Joseph’s Hospital for one of two pickets in the Tucson area on Tuesday, May 28.

It’s all part of a multi-state demonstration organized by the union as it negotiates contracts with Tenet-affiliated hospitals in Arizona, Florida, Texas and California.

About 30 registered nurses started picketing at St. Joseph’s at 6:15 a.m.

Picketers said that they wanted management to invest in nursing staff, saying that will improve RN recruitment and retention.

“Our main focus is our patient outcomes, and we’re trying to advocate for our patients. That is the number one reason why we’re out here and that’s why you have all these nurses out here just trying to better our nurses," said Justine Rykhus, an RN at St Joseph’s.

Another picket will be held at St. Mary’s on Tuesday from 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Carondelet Health Network - owned by Tenet - runs both of the hospitals. The company released the following statement:

“The National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC), the labor union that represents our nursing staff, is holding an informational leafletting/picketing event today outside St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s hospitals. The hospitals are fully operational and our staff’s focus, as always, is on providing exceptional quality patient care. We are disappointed that the union is taking this approach as it is not constructive or necessary. We have made good progress toward a new contract with the union and will continue to negotiate in good faith in hopes of reaching a successful resolution, without the need to disrupt our patients or staff in their mission.”

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