TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For the first time ever, nurses in Arizona are on strike.
The nurses have scheduled a 24-hour strike against St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s hospitals in Tucson.
The nearly 900 nurses voted to join a union last November.
They’ve been negotiating a contract since last year to add more nurses to the staff.
“The whole purpose of it is to provide the resources necessary to give optimal care,” said RN Jessica Rose, a registered nurse at St. Mary’s. “It’s all about our patients.”
Arizona is not the only state which will see the strike. Eight hospitals in California and two in Florida will also join the picket lines.
The nurses are striking against Tenet-affiliated hospitals.
The Pima Area Labor Federation is providing logistics and support for the strikers.
It’s providing food, water, shade, security and signs for the strike.
It’s also calling on elected officials to join them on the picket lines.
It will also ask other union members to join the picketers so they have enough bodies to switch out in two to three-hour shifts.
“We have a bus load of union members coming down from Phoenix,” said Paul Templeton Smith, president of the federation.
For the nurses, many feel patient care suffers when too few nurses must care for too many patients.
The hospital released the following statement:
“St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s hospitals are continuing to provide quality, compassionate patient care today during a one-day strike called by the National Nurses Organizing Committee, the labor union representing many of our nurses.
The hospitals are fully operational, and our staff’s focus, as always, is on providing exceptional quality patient care and service. Patients and their loved ones can be assured that St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s hospitals are staffed with qualified and experienced, non-striking nurses and all our other caregivers through the strike’s duration.
We are disappointed that the union is taking strike action in Tucson, which in our view is not constructive or necessary. We are still in early negotiations with the newly formed local union and have established what we believe to be a respectful, professional and productive relationship. We have been negotiating in good faith with the union over the last few months to reach a first contract. We have made considerable progress, and we will continue to negotiate in good faith in hopes of resolution.
We remain focused on providing safe, quality care to our patients, just as we do every day.”