LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nurses at one Las Vegas hospital protested Thursday after they found out they could face layoffs in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MountainView Hospital says their hands are tied.
"We have nurses coming to work every day, having a panic attack before they start their shift, because they know that no matter how hard they work, it won't be enough," said ICU nurse Vanessa Evans.
Nurses at MountainView Hospital say pay cuts and layoffs would put patients in danger.
"If there aren't nurses in the hospital, the patients suffer," said registered nurse, Nichole Koester.
💪Las Vegas, NV— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) May 28, 2020
💪El Paso, TX
These are just 4 of the 15 locations where NNU nurses are protesting @HCAhealthcare management's decision to punish RNs with layoffs and management's failure to provide adequate #COVID19 protections.#ProtectNurses pic.twitter.com/0Lj0FBjWhJ
Our nurses who care for our COVID patients are warriors! Thank you for caring for our community! 💕 pic.twitter.com/t4ti6IqgoF— MountainViewLV (@MountainViewLV) May 24, 2020
Administrators with MountainView Hospital say they've seen a decrease in patients since the pandemic started, so their parent company, HCA, is making budget cuts across the board.
They say they asked nurses to forego their annual pay increase this year.
When they refused, the hospital said it would have to make budget cuts and layoffs.
Administrators provided a statement to 13 Action News, saying in part:
"At a time when hospitals across the country are struggling to survive, it is disappointing that the National Nurses United would demand pay raises."
At a time when hospitals across the country are struggling to survive, and many are resorting to furloughs and layoffs, it is surprising and frankly disappointing that the National Nurses United would demand pay raises for their members, and recently reject the continuation of a generous pay program that is providing continued paychecks for many of our colleagues.
The goal of MountainView Hospital's, a part of HCA Healthcare's family of hospitals, pandemic pay program is to keep our caregivers employed and receiving paychecks at a time when hospitals throughout the country are experiencing significant declines in patient volume. MountainView is no different.
Many union members have benefitted from this program, even though it is not part of their contract. The program was initially slated to last until May 16, and has been extended through June 27.
Given the NNU's decision to reject our proposal to simply forego member wage increases this year, pandemic pay for nurses represented by NNU will end as of June 6.
We are maintaining our focus on keeping as many of our colleagues employed as we can, despite significantly lower volumes.
Non-union colleagues elsewhere in the organization are forgoing wage increases, and executive leadership, corporate and division colleagues, and hospital CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, CNOs, and COOs have taken pay cuts. While the union appears to be focused on pay raises for some, our priority is on all our colleagues and their families.