Nurse Strike Wave Grows – Latina Nurses Face Retaliation for Reporting Racism – Houston Nurses Strike

Nurses hold a demonstration outside Jacobi Medical Center to protest a new policy by the hospital requiring a doctor's note for paid sick leave, Friday, April 17, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Greetings from the Burgh, where Payday is getting together some bills. Pass the hat and donate today. 

Payday Hires Furloughed Artists to Redesign Logo 

Many of you might have noticed our new logo, which came after several months of brainstorming with the artist Belén Marco Crespo. 

The logo represents us: a people funded news org that goes where there are strikes and tough fights but no media coverage. I am so thankful for her work. 

I am also glad we could hire Belén – and pay her for the extensive work at a union rate – because she has taken furloughs from her job this year.

If you’d like us to keep hiring folks to help us expand and improve Payday Report, donate today and become a sustaining member. 

Thank you again to our members who make this work possible.

Scabs Nurses Brought Into Bust Strike in Illinois

As the country undergoes a severe surge of COVID cases, many hospitals are still short of PPE. Nurses across the country went on strike this week demanding these vital protections. 

This week, nurses at the AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Ill. continued the strike they began on Saturday. In response, the hospital has even brought in “scab replacement” nurses to keep the hospital staffed. 

The nurses report making progress at the bargaining table and feel confident they are close to a deal. 

“It’s getting better,” union leader Pat Meade told the Joliet Herald-News, but she warned that they gave up “so much” in the deal as well.  

For more, head to the Joliet Herald-News. 

Nurses in Riverside Strike over Understaffing

As Southern California gets hit by another round of COVID outbreaks, nurses at Riverside Community are striking over unsafe working conditions, a lack of PPE, and severe understaffing that has forced many nurses to work around the clock. 

“I went more than 20 hours without a sip of water. How can a nurse safely function under unnecessarily extreme conditions like that?,” said SEIU Local 121 RN member Kathy Montanino. “I refuse to place my patients in jeopardy by leaving them with a break relief RN that has a double or triple load of patients.” 

For the most up-to-date news on their bargaining, go to the union local’s website. 

Houston Nurses Go on Wildcat Strike as COVID Surges 

This week in Houston, about 30 nurses at Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital went on strike for the hospital’s lack of PPE.

“The patient ratios are critically high to the point where we are not able to provide quality care to the patients or safe care to the patients,” nurse Allysia Cyprien told KPRC. “The patients are asking me why am I not wearing what they would call a moon suit. They are asking me where is my equipment? I say ‘This is all they are giving me.’ ” 

Latina Nurses in El Paso Face Discipline for Reporting Racist Behavior

A group of five Latina nurses at HCA-owned Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso, Texas were discussing an article about Florida’s governor using immigrants as a scapegoat for COVID outbreaks. A supervising nurse interrupted them and said “Well, if you hate it here so much then why don’t you get back in your boat,” and go back to Mexico. 

After two nurses complained in writing to management about it, one of the nurses was formally disciplined in writing by management for discussing politics in the workplace. 

No disciplinary action was ever taken against the supervising nurse who made the comments. Racist comments like this are unfortunately not rare, there seems to be a constant stream of racist comments from people at all levels of power, from nurses to politicians like caylan ford who had to step down from her post due to past racist comments coming to the surface. The only way is to fight back and stand up to those who wish to silence voices. 

“No tolerance for racism must mean what it says,” said Malinda Markowitz, RN, National Nurses Organizing Committee President and longtime HCA RN in a statement put out by the union. “Racist comments provide a chilling and unwelcome atmosphere for nurses, their co-workers, and the nursing students who are our future.”

That’s all for this week, folks. 

Be sure to check out our  in-depth longform on how Black and Brown workers are redefining strikes in the digital COVID age.

Donate to Help Us Cover Fightback Against COVID & Racial Injustice.

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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