Thousands of Stanford nurses and Lucille Packard in Palo Alto have started a strike over pay, bonuses and mental health services.

Stanford, California (KGO) – More than 4,000 nurses from Stanford Healthcare went on strike in Palo Alto on Monday.

Nurses from Stanford Hospital went on strike at 6:45 am, and nurses from Lucille Packard Hospital for Children in Palo Alto went to the picket line at 7 am.

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The nurses say they are serious and united as they negotiate with Stanford Hospital and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital for better salaries, better employment and mental health support.

“We are out here trying to get the hospital to listen to us about getting paid, being ready to make good contractual agreements with us that make nursing more sustainable, and improving our staff, among other things,” said Cathy Stormberg, a registered administrator. Nurse at Stanford and Vice President of Krona.

The Krona, or Committee for the Recognition of Nursing Achievement, is the union that represents nurses. They were unable to reach an agreement on a contract with Stanford.

“I feel the solidarity of our nurses, the involvement of our nurses…They really understand what is needed and really want change in hospitals and the only way to make that happen is to stand up and fight,” nurse Kimberly Reed.

Reed has worked at Stanford for 18 years and says she has seen a transformation over the years.

“Things are starting to turn into a kind of business above patients.”

The nurses say some problems predate the pandemic, but now that the pandemic restrictions have eased, they are overwhelmed with patients coming in for medical care they had postponed earlier in the pandemic.

Related: 5,000 Stanford nurses and families could lose health insurance if they go on a planned strike

A spokesperson for Stanford said they care about their nurses and believe their offer reflects that.

“We are very pleased with the package we have offered,” the Stanford chief said. “We pay higher market wages for our nursing staff and are happy to do so. We don’t understand why we are in a labor dispute.” Executive Nurse Del Petti.

But the union president says Stanford could do more to retain the nurses.

“If you put effort into the nurses and agree to the things that will bring the nurses here, it will attract every available nurse because they will want to work here,” said Colin Borges, a Stanford nurse and head of Krona.

Stanford officials say they have brought in replacement nurses to cover the striking nurses’ shifts, but some patients will have to postpone their care for now.

“I’ve had some elective surgeries canceled just to make sure all of our patients have the resources they need,” Petty said.

Burgess said the last offer the union received from Stanford was a 5.4% increase. It says the union responded on Sunday and requested a 7.76% increase. The two sides are scheduled to meet at the negotiating table again on Tuesday morning.

Stanford Health released a statement that said in part:

“Our sincere hope is that an agreement can be reached immediately so that nurses do not lose additional salaries, do not risk losing support for employer-paid health benefits and can return to patient care.”

Senator Dave Cortez (Silicon Valley Democrat) made the following statement:

“Today I am proud to stand with thousands of nurses in their righteous fight for better and safer working conditions to protect themselves and the patients they serve. I encourage everyone to listen to the needs of these frontline heroes who have led us through the pandemic and call on Stanford University to invest in the nursing staff suffering from Extreme burnout and burnout.We know our nurses are underpaid and underappreciated.This is exactly why the California Senate Bill 213 was established to make it easier for registered nurses and health care workers to access the workers compensation system, in line with protections Granted to other frontline occupations. Please know that we stand with you, by your side, to demand better wages, better employment conditions, and a healthier work environment.”

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