County workers strike in Martinez


Jesse Sutterley

Nurses from the Martinez County Hospital strike in front of the hospital entrance on Wednesday 7.

Jesse Sutterley, News Editor

Martinez County Hospital nurses took to the streets this week striking for better working conditions and in their words, better patient care. If you use Martinez County Hospital as your main source for medical treatment, you may soon be facing a problem with a lack of nurses at the hospital there will be a struggle to keep patient care to a high standard.

The strike kicked off Tuesday morning as a mass of nurses marched from County Hospital to downtown Martinez, taking control of Alhambra Avenue.

After the march the group stayed at the entrance to the hospital with signs that read “strike for patient safety” and “safe staffing saves lives.” They remained there all of Tuesday and Wednesday as cars and trucks drove by, many of the drivers honking in support of the strike. Even police showed up to support of the nurses.

“I have worked here for 29 years and what we are seeing here now is a crisis. It has to do with patient safety,” Rosalind Walker, a nurse at Martinez County said. “We are at the state now where we can’t retain the nurses we have. We have a lot of nurses with a lot of experience leaving.”

Walker went on to say that Martinez is used as a training ground for other hospitals in the greater Bay Area. “We get the new nurses in because no one will higher them without experience, they come here, work six months to a year then they are gone,” Rosalind said. She added that even the experienced nurses are leaving for better pay and hours. This leaves a void in the hospital’s ability to care for patients.

Walker and the other nurses want the hospital administration to sit down and discuss better terms for the nurses working in Martinez, “We would like the county to hear us, the staffing shortage is bad. We can’t keep nurses we don’t have enough nurses we can’t get nurses from registry so the answer administration has to the staffing shortage is to mandate the nurses they have.”

“Mandatory over time is not in our contract and it is not fare they (doctors) come in at a certain time and they leave,” Walker said, “They leave for doctors appointments they leave to pick up kids, they leave to go home to take care of sick loved ones and we nurses have the same issue.”