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

STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) — After months of failed contract negotiations, 5,000 nurses across Stanford Health…

STANFORD, Calif. (KGO) — After months of failed contract negotiations, 5,000 nurses across Stanford Health Care said they’re going on strike starting April 25.

Colleen Borges is one of those nurses, and the president of CRONA- the nurses’ union.

She says, among other things, she and her colleagues are asking for increased wages and increased staffing numbers.

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“You are world-renowned institutions. You need to be able to make our work environments such that people want to come here and that people feel supported that they’re here,” Borges said.

On Saturday, Stanford released a statement to ABC7 News regarding the nurses’ decision.

It reads, in part:

“While we respect our nurses’ rights to engage in this work action, we are disappointed that the union has chosen to strike. We are proud of our nurses and have proposed highly competitive contract terms, including market-leading pay and proposals that further our commitment to enhanced nurse staffing and wellness.”

In response to the strike, Stanford also announced it would suspend some benefits for those choosing to participate.

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A separate statement to ABC7 News partly reads:

“We have notified the union that nurses who choose to strike will not be paid for any shifts they miss. In addition, employer-paid health benefits will cease on May 1 for nurses who go out on strike and remain out through the end of the month in which the strike begins.”

While Stanford says the move is standard practice- and that employees will be able to extend their coverage through COBRA- it has infuriated the nursing union.

An online solidarity petition has more than 15,000 signatures.

“I don’t know if they were using it as a tactic to scare nurses. To say, look, you walk out, these are the repercussions. But it didn’t. It has backfired. The nurses are more angry than before,” said Borges.

And while both sides say they’re ready to sit down at the negotiating table again, for now, it seems a strike is all but inevitable.

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