On the Picket Line

Nurses across the country rally for end to the staffing crisis

By Ellen Brickley
February 20, 2023

OAKLAND, Calif. — Nurses held a spirited rally at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital here on Jan. 26, part of a national day of action called by the National Nurses United.

They are demanding the hospital industry step up its hiring to end the nationwide staffing crisis. The signs and chants were “Staff up! For safe care.”

The union says the cause of the crisis is “a decades-long campaign by hospitals to decrease inpatient beds — particularly in pediatric units and units deemed less profitable — and to short-staff units in order to maximize profit.” The National Nurses United has some 225,000 members across the country.

The picketing nurses, members of the NNU-affiliated California Nurses Association, also focused on keeping care in Oakland. They say staffing shortages and the failure to maintain the hospital and replace outdated equipment affects their ability to care for patients adequately.

Other protests took pace in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, New York and Texas.