LYNWOOD, Calif. – Nurses as well as healthcare workers walked off the job at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. The five-day strike began Monday and last until Friday, Oct. 13.
Representatives from the United Nurses Association of California/Union of Health Care Professionals say staffing shortages, decrease in pay, and a lack of resources caused employees of the hospital to walk out of the job and line the streets with picket signs.
“Today, we’re here because we’re trying to negotiate a fair contract with Prime Healthcare. We want a contract that will protect the nurses, for the patient’s safety, and give us the resources that we need, especially since we’ve been so short-staffed,” said Maria Nunez.
Nunez has been a nurse for 22 years. She has been working at St. Francis Medical Center for that amount of time. Nunez said the lack of resources is heavily impacting the community around the hospital.
“We’re a big and robust hospital,” Nunez said. “We serve trauma. We provide trauma services, stroke, and all these resources…our community is of low-income and you know, all of the services that we have are very essential for them. A lot of our patients here don’t have insurance and they’re low-income. So they use this facility to, you know, they seek further healthcare and their healthcare needs. Prime (Healthcare) has wanted to cut all of these services. That alone will impact our community.”
Scott Byington, a longtime employee at the medical facility, had some harsh words for Prime Healthcare.
“This a trauma center, Byington said. “When these people walk out, they’re walking out for a reason. Many of them have worked here…I’ve been here since 1995. I’m dedicated to this facility. The company could care less about the employees and patients. The company bought the hospital to make money.”
Byington added that Prime Healthcare has no vested interest in the hospital or the community except to make a profit.
“They disenfranchise the community. They disenfranchise the employees. It’s really sad. We go in there and see this as a caregiver. I’ve worked here, like I said, since 1995. When this company came here three years ago, everything changed. They got rid of 20 percent of the staff that was experienced. They really got rid of them because they would have had to pay them. They gave everyone a 12 percent decrease in pay and put everyone on a three-year wage freeze.”