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L.A. Nurses Reach Contract, Call Off Four-Day Strike

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Los Angeles County emergency-room nurses and nurse practitioners called off a planned strike Nov. 27, after reaching a tentative contract agreement with county officials. Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents more than 7,000 registered nurses at the county’s public hospitals and clinics, voted almost unanimously earlier in the month to authorize a four-day unfair-labor-practice strike over understaffing. The union said that with more than 1,000 positions funded by the county still vacant, nurses were often too busy to go to the toilet or eat a meal. Details of the proposed three-year agreement were not immediately available, but Local 721 spokesperson Coral Itzcalli told the Los Angeles Daily News that it would address dangerous nurse-patient ratio violations and give newly hired nurses incentive bonuses to stay. The hospitals are “consistently losing quality nurses in the ERs and ICUs,” Itzcalli said. “In the last three years at Olive View, 36 new RNs were hired in the ER, but in that same period of time they lost 39 nurses. That’s unacceptable.” “We forced them to do the right thing in order to retain the high-quality nurses L.A. County residents deserve,” said Harbor-UCLA Medical Center nurse-practitioner Jenny Veliz-Urzua. Read more

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