Health workers on picket line, Under-staffing exacerbated amid COVID-19


EUREKA, Calif. (KIEM)-Under staffing in the health care field has been problematic in Humboldt County, according to some St. Joseph Hospital’s health care workers, who walked the picket line Wednesday.

They say, the COVID-19 pandemic as only exacerbated the issue.

Katherine Donahue is a registered nurse and former St. Joseph hospital employee for nearly 30 years, she says she came out to support her peers.

“And I know, is anywhere from 85 to 95 nurse hours is shift-short staff,” she said. “The patients are not getting what they need here and it is dangerous for both the patient and the healthcare workers.”

Registered nurse Katt Smith is a current St. Joseph Hospital employee, and echoes Donahue’s sentiment. 

“We want safe staffing, we want to be able to take care of our community not worry about patients not getting the care that they need,” said smith. “It’s not fair when nurses are out of ratio and we have more patients that we can take care of safely and properly.”

A memorandum was sent out to St. Joseph Hospital Tuesday from the California Nurses Association as part of a “Day of Action”

The informative picket was held on Harrison Avenue, in front of St. Joseph Hospital.

In the communication, the nurses association stated they recognize the rights of their caregivers who choose to participate in a lawful protected activities.

They also made clear, that Wednesday’s event is an informational picket and not a strike, which is a way for unions to inform and develop public support on their side of the issue.

The association added that care givers have a right to picket as long as federal, state or local laws aren’t violated.

Care givers who choose to picket, must do it on their own time or during approved time off.

 St. Joseph Hospital could not be reached for comment.

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