CHINO—The registered nurses of Chino Valley Medical Center (CVMC) wrapped up their three-day round-the-clock strike with an escort of supporters as they returned to work at 7 a.m. Over the three days hundreds filled-out a picket line enlivened by dancing, marching, chanting, music and drumming. They were joined by elected officials including State Senator Connie Leyva, State Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, Pamona Mayor Tim Sandoval, members of other UNAC/UHCP affiliates and other unions from all over Southern California, even a mother and her two children from the school across the street, and on the final day, Halloween, even superheroes Captain Marvel and She-Hulk!
Tim Sandoval, Mayor of neighboring city Pomona, joined the line and addressed the nurses on the strike’s second day.
“This is very personal for me. I’m a very proud cancer survivor,” said Sandoval. “I wouldn’t have been able to get through that if it wasn’t for the nurses who came in day in and day out to take care of me. I appreciate everything that you do, and I stand with you. Nobody should ever have to be out here, fighting, for the right to live with dignity.”
On October 29, the first day of the strike, Connie Leyva, State Senator for District 20, representing Chino in Sacramento, walked the picket line, holding a sign that read “Patients Before Profits.”
“I am honored to be here and thank you for your bravery for going on strike,” Leyva told the nurses. “What people don’t understand is that a strike is a last resort. You work hard, and you work tirelessly. You are the backbone of every community you serve. Honestly, the people who get it done are the nurses. You love your patients, but you need to be paid properly. Patients have to come before profits.”
The Chino Valley RNs have been in negotiations, represented by UNAC/UHCP, for their first union contract, which seeks to stem the turnover crisis in their hospital by compelling Prime to invest in the recruitment and retention of experienced nurses.
“Today is a really important day for the nurses of Chino Valley Medical,” said Sonia Chesterfield, RN, in the Medical-Surgical/Telemetry unit, who has worked at CVMC for seventeen years. “We’re here to let our voices be heard, because corporate has not heard our voices. Today, we’re on strike. We are striking because we have a purpose. Like my grandmother always said, if you don’t stand for something, you’re going to stand for nothing.
“I just want to tell my fellow nurses who are unionized within Chino how proud I am of what we’re accomplishing today. To stand together in solidarity, we are able to show strength, to show what we stand for, to show that we’re not afraid to stand up and fight for what’s right for our patients, our hospital and our community.”
The Chino Valley nurses’ unfair labor practices (ULP) strike comes in response to Chino Valley Medical Center’s repeated violations of federal labor law—including surveillance of RNs and efforts to prevent them from engaging in legally-protected, concerted activity—and the hospital’s refusal to address its escalating crisis in nurse turnover. CVMC is owned by the for-profit Prime Healthcare.
Nurse turnover at Chino Valley Medical Center reached a shocking 41.75% during a recent six-month period, according to the employer’s own rosters of nurses supplied to the union as part of contract negotiations. Studies consistently show that high RN turnover correlates with higher patient mortality and longer patient hospital stays.
Chino’s State Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, of the 52nd Assembly District, brought lunch for the nurses and joined them to walk the picket line.
“Thank you all for the work you do taking care of patients, day in and day out,” Rodriguez told them, “You are the front lines of health care. They need to hear that without you, they wouldn’t be in business. Come on, Prime, listen to our nurses!”
Also joining the Chino Valleys nurses over the three days of their strike: AFSCME District 1199 NUHHCE; AFSCME District Council 36; AFSCME International Union; AFSCME Local 3061; AFSCME Local 3299; California Association for Psychiatric Techs; Iron Workers Local 416; Iron Workers Local 433; LAFCO Local 3183, Local Agency Formation Commission; Teamsters Local 1932; Teamsters Local 1937; UFCW Local 1428; UNAC/UHCP President Emeritus Kathy Sackman, RN; and Chino resident Angela Valderrama with her two children.
The Chino Valley nurses’ strike will continue twenty-four hours a day through Halloween. They will return to work on Friday morning, November 1, at 7 a.m.
United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents more than 32,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.
Contact: Jeff Rogers, UNAC/UHCP Communications | firstname.lastname@example.org | 909-263-7230