SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — Nurses from one of the Inland Empire’s largest county-run hospitals took their fight to county leaders Tuesday, just a week after going on a two-day strike over wages.
Union leaders representing nurses from Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, one of the most trafficked hospitals in the area, went to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to lay out their arguments for better pay.
“It is offensive when they sit there and talk about pay and don’t listen to anybody else,” Nurse Lieu Vo said. “If this was about pay, all these nurses would have left a long time ago.”
Nurses say the county wages are so low that the most experienced are leaving in droves, which they say makes the hospital vulnerable. Last week, nurses walked off the job in a two-day strike, prompting the hospital to transfer patients to other, farther-flung hospitals in the county.
Neither side will discuss the deal on the table right now, but the county says their offer is more than fair.
“Well, the only issue on the table right now is money – is more pay,” San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert said. “And the county’s made a very generous offer, the county’s made an offer that would make the nurses among the highest paid in Southern California. They’re already above the median.”
According to the county numbers, Arrowhead Medical Center nurses are paid less than the average salary of a nurse at a private hospital. But when county pensions are rolled into their compensation, the gap between public and private narrows somewhat.
“We pay into our pension, we also pay more out of benefits and medical than other nurses at other hospitals do,” Vo said.
Union officials say they have no further plans for strikes, but there are also no plans for either side to return to the bargaining table.
RELATED: Arrowhead Nurses Strike Over Wages