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Is Bay Area Nurse Strike Justified?

Examining the September 22nd Nurse Strike in the Bay Area

Written by Elgin on September 24th, 2011

Recently a one-day strike involving 23,000 Bay Area nurses took place in protest to on-going negotiations between hospitals and nurse union groups. The nurses are upset at hospitals efforts to reduce the amount of input allowed from nurses in regards to patient care. Nurses are also upset with proposed cuts in their compensation and benefits packages.

When large organizations and their workers have a dispute it is usually the general public who suffers the greatest consequences. While regular nurses are out on strike, hospital patients are being under-served and hospitals are forced to spend large amounts of money hiring temporary nursing staff. In the aftermath of the strike hospitals will be left with even fewer funds in their budget than they had to begin with. Nurses will be under greater scrutiny for their actions and patients will be left to absorb the costs via higher healthcare costs.

It is reported that nurses within the chain involved in the dispute receive an average annual salary of $136,000 which is amongst the highest nursing salaries anywhere in the United States. The nurse salary in question ranks within the top 1 percent of annual incomes in the U.S.

Healthcare employers will naturally continue to fight to lower costs and limit benefits to keep their profit margins as high as possible. At the end of the day we must ask ourselves what we can do to serve the best interests of the general public and make healthcare more affordable.



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