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Hospital workers on 24-hour strike at USC's Keck Medical Center

October 12, 2011 | 10:38 am

ProtestSeveral hundred hospital workers began a 24-hour strike Wednesday outside Keck Medical Center of USC.

X-ray technicians, certified nursing assistants and housekeeping staff are picketing over working conditions, particularly the ability of workers to have a say in how the hospital is staffed, said John Borsos, vice president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents 640 hospital employees.

The National Labor Relations Board in Los Angeles is scheduled to hear workers' grievances later this month, Borsos said.

Contract negotiations between the union and the medical center, formerly known as USC University Hospital, began in the fall of 2010.

Officials said in a statement that the hospital pays its unionized employees some of the highest wages in the region.

“It’s disappointing that this is happening,” said Matt McElrath, the hospital’s human resources director.

Meanwhile, he said, hospital operations have not been disrupted.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure patients and families are well taken care of,” McElrath said.


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Photo: An LAPD officer directs sidewalk traffic as striking workers picket at Keck Medical Center of USC, formerly known as USC University Hospital. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times