THOUSAND OAKS : Los Robles Nurses Stage Demonstration


Nurses at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, continuing their efforts to gain union representation, staged an informational picket line Saturday in front of the hospital.

“We’re trying to put a little pressure on the administration and get support from the community,” said Leslie Whitehouse, an emergency-room nurse at Los Robles and president of the Los Robles chapter of the American Federation of Nurses.

The 50 demonstrators, most of them nurses from Los Robles, stood on the sidewalk in front of the hospital and carried picket signs demanding union recognition. The effort elicited occasional honks from passing cars and the nurses responded with cheers.


“We are still delivering good patient care, and that’s because of the nurses and physicians,” Whitehouse said. “Not because of the administration.”

The Los Robles chapter of the nurses union is now awaiting a decision by the National Labor Relations Board that will establish whether the nurses at Los Robles are supervisors. About 60% of the hospital’s nurses now pay union dues and carry membership cards.

If they are considered supervisors, they cannot be considered a collective bargaining unit, which would give the nurses more leverage in contract negotiations.

But the hospital administration still maintains that most of the nurses do not want unionization, nor are the nurses’ and hospital’s interests best served by a third party.

“I think most of (the nurses) during the next several weeks will see that there’s not much value in (unionization),” said Ken Underwood, the hospital’s chief operating officer. “We would prefer to resolve issues with employees directly rather than through an outside third party.”

The efforts to unionize began last year after cuts in benefits and wages, and have persisted since the merger of HCA-Hospital Corp., Los Robles’ parent company, with Columbia Health Care Corp. last March.