MERCED — Nurses and some other employees struck Merced Community Medical Center today for the second time in two years.
Pickets turned up at the hospital at 5 a.m. following failure to reach a contract agreement during an all-day negotiating session on Monday. Gene Stamm, business agent for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said the union's main concern is hiring more nurses to ease what it considers an unsafe ratio of nurses to patients.
About 30% of the nursing staff struck for 17 days in May, 1987, before a settlement was reached.
Administrator William Gilbert said the hospital would put a contingency plan into effect to continue services.