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Sunday, Aug 7, 2022
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Nurses Strike

Registered nurses started their five-day strike on Thursday morning at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center as they called for higher pay and staffing levels, along with making other demands. Nurses and other hospital staff members started picketing at the site at 5:30 a.m. with plans to have protesters there until 8 p.m. The strike is being held until Dec. 28 at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center and Riverside Community Hospital, which are both owned by the company HCA. The nurses plan to picket on each of the strike days, except for Christmas Day. “We’re out here because the hospital has not bargained fairly in regards to our issues regarding patient care and providing the necessary staff so we can give proper care,” said registered nurse Elley Langsam, a bargaining team member for the union who has been working at the West Hills hospital for about 30 years. Nurses on the picket line also said they need their pay scales to be increased to better reflect the cost of living. Other issues the nurses said they would like HCA to address are career advancement opportunities, rest and meal period regulations and training for new technology. Nurses from Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks were also originally scheduled to participate, but they recently pulled out from the strike. Beverly Gilmore, President and CEO of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center, said management secured about 100 registered nurses to work through the strike in place of the protesters. However, the hospital has not needed to use all of them. “We are well-staffed to take care of anybody and everything,” Gilmore said. “I don’t think any of us would like to have a strike, but we certainly are prepared to make sure we can handle patient care. … Hopefully, after (the strike) we will be able to get back to negotiating.” Jessica Vernabe

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