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Nurses reach tentative agreement with L.A. County, averting strike

Nurses reach tentative agreement with L.A. County, averting strike
More than 7,000 L.A. County nurses, including those who worked in emergency rooms, operating rooms and intensive care units, had planned to begin a four-day strike Tuesday morning. (stockvisual / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Los Angeles County officials and the labor union representing the county’s nurses reached an 11th-hour deal Monday night to avert a strike that was set to begin Tuesday morning.

“Los Angeles County is gratified that the bargaining committee of SEIU Local 721 has reached a tentative agreement with the county,” county chief executive officer Sachi A. Hamai said in a statement late Monday night.

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“This means that the county’s registered nurses will remain on the job, serving vulnerable patients who depend on them and preventing widespread service disruptions that a strike would have caused across our massive healthcare system,” Hamai said.

Union representatives called the deal a victory for nurses.

“I am so proud of our registered nurses,” union President Bob Schoonover said in a statement. “Because of their determination and their compassion for their patients, we are on a real pathway to finally solving our nurse retention crisis.”

The union said it had secured additional funding to help retain more nurses.

It had been bargaining with the county for months and reached an impasse over staffing issues, with nurses contending that they were being forced to violate state limits on patient-to-nurse ratios and that an inadequate number of nurses at county facilities was jeopardizing patient safety.

More than 7,000 nurses, including those who worked in emergency rooms, operating rooms and intensive care units, had planned to begin a four-day strike Tuesday morning.

About 200 nurses deemed essential to patient safety would have been given “line passes” and continued to work, and the county was preparing to authorize its health department to take additional steps to provide care to patients during the strike.

8:30 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting.

This article was originally published at 6:30 a.m.

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