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Nurses Taking Vote on Strike

October 25, 2000|TINA DIRMANN

After failed efforts to negotiate a new contract, nurses for two financially troubled hospitals will begin voting today to determine if they should strike next month.

More than 500 nurses at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo will begin receiving ballots today to consider striking if hospitals officials haven't reached an agreement by early November.

Registered nurses said they want more say in how patients receive care, and they have complaints about short staffing, transfers to duties they are not trained to do, pay discrepancies among nurses and the hiring of temporary nurses for full-time slots.

Union representatives told the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that nurses are overworked, go without breaks and struggle to answer calls from patients.

Hospital officials have blamed a nationwide nursing shortage for part of the extra burdens placed on staffers, and the use of temporary nurses.

The two sides have met more than 20 times in recent months, but so far have failed to reach an agreement on any major issues, union officials said.

Nurses must turn in their ballots before Nov. 9, when union officials will count the votes.

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