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PRESS RELEASE: ‘David vs. Goliath’ protest: Garfield and El Monte Nurses take on parent company’s corporate culture of unsafe hospital staffing

April 12, 2019

RNs also organize a vote to authorize a strike.

LOS ANGELES–Today, Registered Nurses from Garfield Medical Center and Greater El Monte Community Hospital joined together with community supporters to challenge unsafe staffing practices implemented by corporate-owner AHMC Healthcare.

Nurses say the hospital dangerously cuts corners, often forcing nurses to be shifted outside of their unit of expertise and experience to cover departments where they aren’t sufficiently trained.

“Our patients need committed consistent care. When hospital management cuts corners, they put patients at risk,” said Maria Elena Diaz, a Registered Nurse at Garfield Medical Center. “Families come to our hospital expecting enough nurses and support staff to ensure safety and care. We need the hospital and its management to place the safety and health of our community first.”

“Because they don’t hire enough Nurses, they’re constantly moving us around to cover shortages throughout the hospital—often to areas that require specific expertise,” says Weng Fei Fung, a Registered Nurse at Garfield Medical Center. “Most of the RNs who are left on the floor have less than a year of experience because they can’t be used as subs. Can you imagine if we had a Code Blue or something happened to a patient and we weren’t able to effectively help our patient?”

RN’s also protest management’s controversial system of giving RNs a double patient load to cover for each other during breaks and lunches. Again, this is a dangerous practice that cynically ignores California’s nurse-to-patient ratio regulations.

“More than half the time, nurses in my unit work without a Break Relief Nurse. That means the Charge Nurse now has to cover four to eight patients, leaving the important Charge Nurse duties unattended,” said Leyna Tran of Garfield Medical Center. “So, what happens if an RN on the floor needs the Charge Nurse’s expertise or assistance when something suddenly goes wrong? This isn’t safe.”

The nearly 600 registered nurses in the two hospitals are members of the Service Employees International Union Local 121RN and are currently in negotiations with AHMC Healthcare, where they have heavily prioritized improvements to staffing and patient safety.


Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN represents more than 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.