Nurses at Stanford, Packard hospitals go on strike for first time in 2 decades | April 29, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 29, 2022

Nurses at Stanford, Packard hospitals go on strike for first time in 2 decades

Demands focus on mental health, staffing and benefits

by Sue Dremann

Thousands of nurses from Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals staged a raucous protest on the hospital campus on Monday during the opening salvo of their strike.

This story contains 1273 words.

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Email Staff Writer Sue Dremann at [email protected]


Posted by karlakk
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2022 at 11:34 am

karlakk is a registered user.

After the workers cleaning up after the patients. Hospitality workers like maids and restaurants and bars, forced to work with people not wearing masks its really hard to feel sorry for these nurses, They were paid the most and these nurses were given 1k and more per day to pick up extra shifts. Parents working at home trying to home school and work... people struggled.
We are all in this together..Notice how the doctors are not striking and they worked longer hours and worse for medical students. [Portion removed.] Please replace these nurses with other employees that share resources in our community

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2022 at 12:35 pm

felix is a registered user.

The first strategy of the union buster is to foment division among both strikers and supporters.
I saw 2 docs associated with Stanford last week. Both support the nurses. One commented - Stanford treats them awful - they should just give them what they want and be done with it.
I and my friends in town who are talking about the strike (many get healthcare there and/or work there) support them.
Stanford - do the right thing ASAP for nurses and all of us who support and rely on them.

Posted by Friend of the Nurses
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Friend of the Nurses is a registered user.

2 years ago, people would stand outside and cheer for doctors and nurses alike. Now, when those same healthcare professionals ask for better wages and fair treatment, they are out of line and we withdraw support? Nurses should be celebrated with fair pay and a healthy/safe working environment. Shame on Stanford for allowing it to get to this point and forcing the strike. Support our nurses, NOW!

Posted by Knows Stanford Labor
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 25, 2022 at 2:02 pm

Knows Stanford Labor is a registered user.

Read the bio’s of the Stanford Health Care Board of Directors.
When we balance on the precipice facing sudden devastating illness or accident, death of a child, death of a loved one with terminal cancer, should we call upon Registered Nurses, or upon entrepreneurs, hedge fund managers and captains of the health care “industry”?
R.N.’s are uniquely prepared, via guidance, interpreting experience, and giving insightful care, to help you move through circumstances that feel unendurable and unacceptable.
It takes years for nurses to master these skills. Nurses show up in role, remaining calm and gracious, while grieving in private.
Dedication is freely given, but, like freedom, it isn’t free.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 25, 2022 at 2:22 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Stanford owes us all an explanation for how they could NOT have supplied nurses and staff with the PPE necessary to protect themselves and patients from the start of the pandemic. The same goes for PAMF/Sutter where even their doctors advised patients to switch to video appointments because they knew the administration hadn't provided the necessary protections until VERY VERY late in the pandemic.


Posted by Harper Blair
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Harper Blair is a registered user.

Karlakk: I think you're forgetting these are the nurses who took care of covid patients before we knew how deadly it was, how contagious or even really how it spread. You, waiters, grocery store clerks were not volunteering to walk into covid patients rooms and do the manual back breaking labor to take care of them. They literally spent MONTHS living in hotels away from family to insure they didn't give it to their children. While bars, restaurant's ect were closed, they were open. They got no incentive pay, the got called heros and pizza parties. They don't want pizza, they want to be able to have healthcare themselves. They want to be able to take breaks and go on vacation to recharge. They want to give good care to the patient in front of them instead of being fatigued. You say replace them with people who want to share resources in our community, these nurses DONT MAKE ENOUGH TO LIVE IN THIS COMMUNITY. That's the entire point of this strike. You are so out of touch, why don't you go to the picket line and chat with them. They're very nice, and will be happy to talk about conditions inside the hospital.

Posted by Rbeccam
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 25, 2022 at 2:25 pm

Rbeccam is a registered user.

The woman below “Karla” who posted on this story has one of the most sophmoric understandings about what is going on. First of all, you don’t see doctors striking because they are not unionized. It is against federal law for doctors to unionize since they also practice (run a business) privately, and that would be considered colluding and price fixing. 2. Doctors cannot just walk out because they have to abide by the hippocratic oath. It’s also telling that Karla thinks nurses are equivalent to maids, servers and bartenders. I don’t even know where to begin with that. Nurses are also not equivalent to parents who stay at home. Nurses are the ones who do 90% of the work in the hospitals. They work 12 hour shifts while doctors stroll in and out of rooms and see patients for a few minutes at a time. The main patient prep, care, medication, and assisting with complex cases are all done by nurses who then spend hours charting everything for the doctors. It’s insulting for Karla to make her comparisons to service industry workers for a profession that requires split second attention and care to save lives every single day. You might know someone who got COVID but nurses are treating them 24/7. If cases go down there are still patients to care for. If cases go up there are still patients to care for. Meanwhile inflation is 8.5% and you are risking your life and being treated like you are easily replaceable cannon fodder. Stanford specializes in complex diseases and critical patient care from childbirth to neurology and everything in between. You can hire clowns to come in now while your trained staff strikes but in the end Stanford is hurting itself by ignoring these justified requests for improved working conditions. If Stanford is not the best continue to not pay or provide the best benefits and fall in rankings. All to tech companies for example pay the best and provide the best benefits to keep the best. And they’re making TikTok not keeping you or sick children alive.

Posted by Mo Revue
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 25, 2022 at 4:56 pm

Mo Revue is a registered user.

Hey people wake up! (We are a retired couple..a Nurse/Respiratory therapist retired since 2020 to the Philippines just before Covid-19 hit) Take our combined 75 years of intensive care experience to the bank: “The BILLIONS pouring into the Stanford coffers will not save your loved ones when they have hard accidents or cardiac events..let alone life saving surgeries. It will be your trained Nurse/RT at bedside who through their highly trained skills will keep you alive. The ‘hired guns’ now at bedside are there solely for the cash. You find yourself in the Stanford Hospital system in the coming weeks?…Good luck. Support our striking nurses & tell management to stop playing ‘Scrooge Mc’Duck’ and give these men & women what they deserve.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 25, 2022 at 5:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hospital strikes are a lose-lose-lose situation.

The sad truth is that when this strike is over it will have cost both sides more than the cost of a pre-strike negotiated agreement.

Stanford's strike costs include paying replacement nurses, reduced patient care revenues and significant legal fees.

CRONA's costs include their loss of pay and health benefits plus significant legal fees.

BUT the biggest cost is to the community in terms of the loss of timely medical care.

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2022 at 5:15 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

Isn't there a nursing shortage? If they don't like the conditions at Stanford, they're free to quit and find a better situation.

Oh wait. Everywhere else is unionized as well. They lose their seniority if they changed their position.

Who knew that unions would perpetuate the shackles to a job?

"You say replace them with people who want to share resources in our community, these nurses DONT MAKE ENOUGH TO LIVE IN THIS COMMUNITY."

Yep. And that's the fault of residentialists, who are aging in our midst, yet don't want to build more housing for the careworkers they'll eventually need.

How ironic.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 25, 2022 at 5:40 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"BUT the biggest cost is to the community in terms of the loss of timely medical care."

What timely medical care? Did you miss Diana Diamond's blog and all the first-hand accounts of the ridiculously long waits for appointments at both Stanford and PAMF?

Have these delays stopped the either Stanford or PAMF from continuing to advertise for more patients which will further clog up the system?

Posted by Susan
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2022 at 7:47 pm

Susan is a registered user.

[Post removed at request of poster.]

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2022 at 7:48 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

I had read elsewhere that they earn what sounded like good salaries like 150K, but I didn’t see it clearly broken out by RN, LPN or CNA or other professional levels of responsibility/education - but am willing to read that if it’s edited into above article for everyone to see. Specifics are helpful to evaluate the situation. Asking for a large raise what 20% ? - would seem to make these salaries nationally ultra high.
Btw…Tech professionals in Silicon Valley with “high” salaries also work hard and long hours.

Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 25, 2022 at 9:40 pm

Enough is a registered user.

I Support the nurses in this. Stanford is making record profits at the time they are trying to short the nurses who risked their lives treating Covid patients. They want Stanford to cover mental health services, that seems like a small ask especially give that a traveling Nurse committed suicide recently. That is a small ask and one that should have been provided without question. They want Stanford to hire more nurses so they are not constantly asked/pressured to take on additional shifts, and yes they are asking for a pay raise, not even one that is out of line with the area we live in.

I have been to Stanford Hospital several times and it is the nurses that took care of me 99% of the time. Sure a doctor stopped by and spent 5 minutes with me but it was the nurses that helped me when I needed it and made sure I had everything that I needed. They cleaned up the messes and were always friendly and positive. They deserved every penny they made before Covid, now they deserve that and more.

If I get sick before this strike is over I will certainly find somewhere else to go.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:37 am

Annette is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter's advice to settle quickly should be heeded.

As for nurses' pay. They SHOULD be well compensated. Can anyone recall a clinic visit or hospitalization that didn't involve nurses quietly, efficiently, and capably handling everything from taking vitals to changing linens to dressing wounds to assisting in surgery to administering meds to calming fears to holding hands, and on and on. I know I could never do much of what nurses do. Pay them well, hospitals, it is the right thing to do AND you can afford it. If you need to trim costs, start at the management level, not the caregiver level. Every patient who walks through your doors relies on you to have capable and sufficient staffing. Ditto their families.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2022 at 10:32 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Both sides should put a Last Best Offer in the hands of an independent arbitrator who would then pick, without any changes, one of them which the parties would have agreed to accept in advance.

Waiting days or weeks will not improve the outcome for either side but will simply raise their sunk costs and harm the community that they serve.

Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2022 at 11:30 am

ndn is a registered user.

As a patient I say to Stanford Health Care management:
Settle this strike !
That's what good administration does.

Posted by Shirley 'Mac'
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2022 at 11:56 am

Shirley 'Mac' is a registered user.

Stanford please provide the services, benefits and increased wages the nurses are requesting at the bargaining table. I have two friends who are retired nurses from Stanford Hospital. One has told me the Traveling nurses receive 3x the amount of wages of the permanent staff at Stanford. Of course, they are currently making the highest wages in the nation due to our living costs in N CA. That's no excuse.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 26, 2022 at 12:20 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Let's not lose sight of the Stanford's chronic understaffing which hurts the nurses when they have to work overtime but it ALSO hurts patient care and that's indefensible. If the nurses cared mainly about money, they wouldn't be pushing for MORE staff because it would hurt their own income.

Stop calling the nurses overpaid and selfish. They're not. I'd love to see Stanford's top administrators settle for a 1% bonus like they're offering the nurses. How insulting.

Posted by PAReader
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 26, 2022 at 12:21 pm

PAReader is a registered user.

Struck suddenly with an acute neurologic disorder in 2019, I spent 3 weeks in the Stanford Neurology unit. The skill and compassion of the Stanford nurses is something I remember every day. It was absolutely instrumental in my recovery. When Stanford professes equivalent patient care with thousands of temporary nurses, this statement underscores their disrespect for their own highly trained employees and callous disregard for patient care. Stanford Hospitals most precious resource is its doctors, nurses, and supporting staff. When things reach this level of discord, which mars Stanford's reputation, negates its credibility (thousands of temp nurses can do an equivalent job???? - no one believes that), and endangers the health of our most vulnerable, it's certainly time for new management. Stanford University needs to take a step backwards and ask - do we want our medical center managed in a way that destroys its stellar reputation and its ability to save lives? As a Stanford graduate and former patient whose life was saved, I hope the answer is no.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2022 at 5:59 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

There has been a chronic nursing shortage/chronic understaffing since my mom became a nurse in the late 50s. And probably before that -- I just didn't hear about it. And nurses should be thankful they're making the money they're making, especially Stanford RNs who are making 118% above the national average.

As far as Stanford not having PPE - that was a problem nationwide. Most of the PPE is made in China, and when the pandemic hit -- well.

Strikes are a lose-lose situation, and the patients really lose out.

And not making enough money as a nurse to live in the area? Unless you're uber wealthy, nobody qualifies for a mortgage in the area on one salary, especially women. It takes two, and a lot of nurses are married.

I agree that nurses do most of the work.

Posted by Enough
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2022 at 7:56 pm

Enough is a registered user.

"Strikes are a lose-lose situation, and the patients really lose out."

That is true but I would argue that having a nursing staff that is not treated well, do not have the benefits of mental health support, good pay (for this area) and time off to spend with family also hurts patients. These nurses will not be happy and will likely leave which is definitely not good for the patients.

As I understand it the traveling nurses are not allowed to work in critical care areas like the ICU's, NICU, and others. If this is true, and Stanford maintains they are just as good as the nurses on strike, then shy can't they work those areas?

I would propose that the same benefits they give the nurses are automatically applied to management and leadership at Stanford.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 27, 2022 at 11:03 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I personally have not been a patient at SU but my relatives have been and at the time had great care. I have donated because of my prior experience. I donate as do others to help support the overall organization. My direct relatives have all been directly connected to SU and the campus so have always had a respect for the overall management of the institution.

Now I am finding out through various situations that they are failing. The hospital is a key part of SU and they are not treating their employees right.

SU has a huge amount of land and is not providing housing to SU employees - pushing that off onto the City of PA that does not have open land in the key locations relative to transportation. Meanwhile they are developing the RWC campus in a very dense area including large apartment complexes, a hospital, and campus.

It is not clear why this mess is so obvious and it is not handled correctly. Why is SU making a mess for it's employees and the city. The City has to rethink it's relationship with SU, and rethink housing in general by it's limitations on building height. MP and RWC are building with more height. MP and RWC are being more aggressive in realigning the city relative to transportation.

SU's overall perception of excellence is failing badly and they need to correct that problem by working with the employees, building more housing for employees, and working to support better transportation on El Camino. I think that some of the traveling nurses rent those RV's - the whole situation a disgrace.

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