Registered nurses at seven Community Health Systems (CHS) hospitals in California, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia held a national day of action with strikes, pickets, and other solidarity events on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Among those facilities which were picketed was Greenbrier Valley Medical Center. This was a day of action to protest the failure of CHS executives to address widespread concerns about patient safety and cuts in patient services as well as the nurses’ efforts to win economic and workplace fairness. The protests affect more than 1,400 RNs at those facilities. At multiple CHS hospitals RNs are alarmed at what they see as serious safety violations as a result of unsafe staffing and the refusal of hospital officials to discuss how to secure protections for patients.
CHS, the second largest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S., has been ordered by two federal judges to stop violating representation rights. Additionally, three national labor board judges have found widespread violations to federal labor law. CHS is also under investigation for further vilations of federal labor law for other illegal terminations, many unilateral changes in working conditions, spying on nurses and more.
“It would be hard to find an employer anywhere in the U.S. that has engaged in such a widespread, systemic practice of violating the rights of its employees,” said California Nurses Association (CNA) copresident Cokie Giles. “It is time for CHS to begin acting as a responsible community member, not a rogue outfit that is repeatedly at odds with federal law and democratic rights.”