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NLRB: Spokane hospital’s nurse lockout was against the law

The following is from SEIU Healthcare 1199NW:

Spokane-valley-nurses-strike-13Dec05SPOKANE VALLEY (April 25, 2014) — About 1,000 nurses and healthcare workers at Valley and Deaconess Hospitals, members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, have been standing up for their patients and calling for better staffing. Rather than working with caregivers to improve staffing, the hospitals have resisted, even going so far as to lock out more than 100 nurses and healthcare workers at Valley Hospital.

Now, the National Labor Relations Board has sided with the caregivers and has filed a complaint against the hospitals, alleging, among other charges, that Valley violated federal law when it locked out workers.

ALSO at The Stand — Spokane nurses end strike, but Valley locks out 74 (Dec. 5, 2013)

“These charges add even more strength and volume to our calls for the hospitals to stop fighting us and start working with us to provide better patient care,” said Diane Gross, a Health Unit Coordinator at Deaconess Hospital.

The technologists, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, sterile processors, dietary, housekeeping, and admitting staff at Deaconess and Valley plus registered nurses at Valley went on strike in November to amplify their call for better staffing.  Rather than work with the staff to improve staffing, Valley hospital retaliated by locking out 100-plus staff.

“Management can’t ignore these charges — it’s time for them to answer to the actions they took to try to silence us and sideline our serious patient care concerns,” said Tami O’Marro, an RN in Family Care at Valley Hospital.  “The best answer they can give, though, is to settle these charges and settle a contract with us that improves staffing.”

Nurses report that short staffing and staffing cuts have left them with huge patient loads, making it difficult to meet each patients’ needs.  Research has shown that staffing has a significant impact on patient safety and that improving staffing will result in fewer patient falls, hospital-borne infections, and deaths.

The nurses and healthcare workers are still at the table to bargain a new safe staffing contract with the hospitals and are resolved to keep up the fight until their patients have the staffing they need.  The hospitals, meanwhile, need to respond to the federal complaint.

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