On the Picket Line

Thousands of nurses strike 1-day over workload, patients’ safety

By Anthony Dutrow
October 7, 2019

HIALEAH, Fla. — Some 6,500 members of National Nurses United conducted a one-day strike Sept. 20 at 12 Tenet hospitals in Florida, California and Arizona to protest the harsh work conditions they face created by the high nurse-to-patient ratios imposed by the bosses. Nurses at two Tenet hospitals in El Paso, Texas, held public actions the same day.   

“The worst thing for me is the harassment due to problems created by the lack of staffing,” Robin Velasquez, a nurse for 46 years, told the Militant  on the picket line at Palmetto General hospital here, This is the nurses first strike since they won union recognition in 2013, Velasquez said proudly, and the first nurses’ strike ever in Florida.    

Verla Bidon, a nurse for 25 years at Palmetto General, said that in critical care units “nurses are assigned three patients at a time. No other hospital does this, not the VA [Veterans Administration], none of them.” This denies patients the special care they require, she said. 

In Florida, Texas and Arizona, National Nurses United members have been working without a contract or under one that has expired.

In Chicago, more than 2,000 nurses walked off the job Sept. 20 after contract negotiations between the union and the University of Chicago Medical Center broke down