Around and around we go! (Photo by Spencer Otte)
Even with sweltering heat and smoke-filled skies above, over a hundred caregivers at West Anaheim Medical Center held fast yesterday and walked the picket line in front of the hospital. Represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), the striking staffers cited unsafe conditions on the job due to short staffing and low wages as chief reasons for the 24-hour walkout.
The strike, a first ever at West Anaheim Medical Center, follows an informational picket that took place last month. Negotiations broke down when Prime Healthcare Services, who operates the facility, refused to meet the union’s demand for a 24 percent wage increase. The way NUHW tells it, Prime representatives informed workers at the bargaining table that they “had the option to leave” and find work elsewhere. Many, like Jeanne Waite, who needs the health insurance offered by her job in order to pay for her husband’s cancer treatment, felt the option offered is no option at all.