On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, four SEIU Local 121RN members—RNs from Providence St. Joe’s, Riverside, and Northridge—traveled to Sacramento to begin our intensive “Fight the Fairytale!” campaign to expose our hospitals’ false narrative about hospital staffing levels. We know they’re dangerously unsafe. That’s why we reintroduced our bill to “Stop Repeat Offender Hospitals”—SB 227.
Joining us were SEIU Local 721 members who work for the California Department of Public Health—and who echo our call for better enforcement of Title 22 nurse-to-patient ratios.
Members of SEIU Locals 121 and 721 visiting Senator Steven Bradford.
Our whirlwind one-day lobby trip included meetings at ten different Senators’ offices, all either on the Health and/or Appropriations Committees. They listened carefully as we recounted incidents where patients suffered because hospitals broke nurse-to-patient ratio laws.
“I could see the light bulbs turn on in their heads,” said Joyce Powell, an E.R. Nurse at Providence St. Joe’s about their discussions with legislators and staffers. “We got them to realize how ridiculous it is to have this law on the books for ten years and yet CDPH has no way of fining the hospitals when they break the law. Meanwhile—and not surprisingly—hospitals repeatedly violate it and tell RNs it’s just a suggestion.”
Last year, our bill made it all the way to Governor Brown’s desk. But hospital administrators told the Governor that there simply are no staffing issues in California’s hospitals, resulting in a veto. So on this lobby trip, we set the record straight (again!) with our specific accounts of what’s really happening in our hospitals.
Stay tuned for our next lobby effort when our bill is heard in the Senate Health Committee—an important step!