Labor Expert: “Burned Out and Overstretched” Nurses Striking for Safe Staffing

Close to 800 nurses at St. Mary Medical Center in Bucks County, Pennsylvania are planning to strike Tuesday and Wednesday to demand safe staffing levels. Rebecca Kolins Givan, an associate professor in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, is available for email, phone, and Zoom interviews about the looming walkout.

Givan said, “Strikes work. Nurses around the country have won increased staffing by walking out. The credible threat of a strike is also powerful—and sometimes just as effective—as an actual strike. We’ve seen that with nurses, teachers, and many other workers. The bottom line in Pennsylvania is that nurses are burned out and overstretched. COVID has amplified their longstanding concerns, especially the need for sufficient staffing levels to provide high-quality patient care. Even after serving on the frontlines of this pandemic, their voices are going unheard. Picket lines have a way of changing that.”

Givan, who serves as co-director of the Rutgers Center for Work and Health, wrote the book, “The Challenge to Change: Reforming Health Care on the Front Line in the United States and the United Kingdom.”