San Diego Children’s Hospital Nurses Vote to Strike as Negotiations Breakdown

Contact: Christian Castro ccastro@teamstersjc42.org | (310) 857-9817

Over 1,600 nurses at Rady Children’s Hospital, represented by UNOCH Teamsters Local 1699, overwhelmingly vote to strike, warning of potential disruptions to services.

(San Diego, CA) Yesterday, after months of negotiations and numerous failed attempts to secure a fair contract, the over 1,600 dedicated nurses at Rady Children’s Hospital, represented by United Nurses of Children’s Hospital (UNOCH) Teamsters Local 1699, overwhelmingly voted to go on strike.

“Rady Children’s Hospital has forced our hand,” said Katie Langenstrass, Executive Director of UNOCH Teamsters Local 1699. “Our members are passionate about their work and their patients. However, the hospital’s persistent undervaluation of their dedication and skill has left us no choice. Despite the hospital’s total operating revenue increasing to $1.6 billion in 2023, they continue to refuse to compensate our members fairly. All while its nurses are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. It’s just not right.”

Negotiations resumed Monday with hope for a resolution, but the lack of fair wages and adequate benefits led to a breakdown in talks. The nurses have no choice but to go on strike, which unfortunately may disrupt patient care, leading to longer wait times and the rescheduling of procedures, a situation the nurses had hoped to avoid.

Strike dates have not been announced.

“I love my job and the children I care for every day,” said Reid Corley, Registered Nurse at Rady Children’s Hospital   “All we’re asking for is fair wages to provide for our families. The cost of living in San Diego is astronomical, and we simply cannot keep up with our current wages. It’s heartbreaking to think about the impact on our patients, but we have been left with no other option.”

San Diego has been ranked as the most expensive city in the country. A recent study by Zillow reported that people looking to buy a home in the area need an income of at least $273,613.

“We have been behind on wages for years, and it’s becoming impossible to retain talented nurses,” said Marie Wahl, Registered Nurse at Rady Children’s Hospital. “Many of our colleagues leave after just one to two years for better-paying positions at other hospitals. This constant turnover disrupts patient care and places an unfair burden on those of us who are left. This strike is about more than just wages, it’s about patient care.”

Hospital staff report consistent staffing issues over the years due to the low wages, with some nurses earning less than half of their counterparts in the area.  Rising healthcare costs have made the situation worse, as many nurses are experiencing hundreds of dollars in monthly increases, further eroding their already lagging wages. Over the past five years, the employee’s share of medical premiums has risen by nearly 34%.

UNOCH Teamsters Local 1699 represents over 1,600 nurses at Rady Children’s Hospital, dedicated to ensuring the critical work of caring for San Diego’s children.

About UNOCH Teamsters Local 1699

United Nurses of Children’s Hospital (UNOCH) is a group of professional nurses, therapists and technicians dedicated to promoting excellence in the care of infants, children and their families. UNOCH is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and is devoted to creating a working environment that enables our members to perform the high quality patient care that Rady Children’s Hospital is known for.

 

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