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PRESS RELEASE: RNs at Van Nuys hospital picket to alert community of critical patient safety issues

October 24, 2018


CONTACT: Terry Carter, (805) 312-0024

The Registered Nurses at Southern California Hospital at Van Nuys formed their Union last year in large part to remedy problems that affect patient care and safety. They have now reached a “picket” level of frustration with the hospital’s resistance to their proposals for addressing unsafe staffing levels and other grave concerns.

“We’ve used our first contract negotiations to try to address these problems,” said Rudy Barzola, an RN who serves on the Union’s contract bargaining team. “For us, this picket serves as a way for us to take the struggle to the next level. We’re serious about improving patient safety. For one thing, instead of providing a relief Nurse, the hospital asks us to carry an unsafe patient load when one of us has to take a break. We are a psychiatric hospital with an extremely vulnerable patient population. This unsafe staffing leaves our patients at risk of injury or episode. And it’s gotten so bad that staff turnover is out of control. We have almost all new Nurses from a year ago.”

In addition to insisting that the hospital adhere to California’s nurse-to-patient ratio regulations, RNs have asked the hospital to guarantee its support of continuing education that ensures RNs keep up with the latest treatments and protocols. They also want the hospital to adhere to state laws that mandate annual Patient Classification System (PSC) committee meetings, which help to ensure accurate measurement of patient acuities.

“For the sake of our patients, I would like to see some real improvements to our acuity system,” said Linda Pimental, another RN on the bargaining team. “Having an RN on a PCS committee that meets regularly is a great first step. We need to do a better job of accurately measuring the level of care each patient needs from us. We want hospital management to respond to our proposal on this issue.”


Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN represents nearly 9,000 registered nurses and other healthcare professionals at 27 hospitals and facilities in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. This member-led organization is committed to supporting optimum working conditions that allow nurses to provide quality patient care and safety.