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Santa Fe Hospital Workers Prepared To Strike

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Nurses and medical technicians at Santa Fe’s only general hospital are contemplating a strike after contract negotiations with hospital administrators stalled.

Workers overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer Sunday by Christus St. Vincent that contained nine percent pay raises over three years, saying the offer would leave the hospital understaffed.

KUNM Public Health Reporter Ed Williams spoke to Fonda Osborn, President of the Santa Fe branch of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, about the possible strike. 

"Patient care loads keep going higher and higher," Osborn said. "A nurse used to have five patients, now nurses can have up to six or seven patients. We had to draw the line somewhere."

Osborn said that at current staffing levels, a nurse only has time to devote 10 minutes per hour to a patient.

Hospital administrators said in an email that they will resume negotiations with the union on Thursday, and that the hospital has procedures in place to ensure continued medical care to patients should the nurses and medical technicians go on strike. 

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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