By Angela Musallam

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Thousands of patient care tech workers across the University of California system are going on strike starting Tuesday.

This is the second strike at the hospital in less than six months.

But UC Davis Medical Center officials say they’re prepared to keep patient care running smoothly despite the three-day strike.

“You’d think they would be able to negotiate before it came to the streets,” said Taunya Loomis, whose husband is in care of the med center. “He’s very ill, he has already waited too long … he’s supposed to be on dialysis and he has a heart condition.

Loomis she says her husband will most likely be admitted to the hospital once they walk in. She hopes he won’t have to suffer because of the strike.

“We have brought in staff from across the country,” said Chief Nursing Officer Toby Marsh.

The hospital has increased its staff through hiring agencies, and has also shifted some employees from other campuses to supplement the potential walkout of thousands of patient care workers.

Marsh says physical therapists are among the temporary hires. He adds the cafeteria and gift shop will be closed to visitors and employees.

“We will be shifting those duties to other areas that we can really focus on our patients,” Marsh said.

Although thousands of employees are expected to strike, the union says it’s put together a special task force to prevent a patient care crisis.

“Any emergencies that happen in the hospital, we have this task force to make sure we are available,” Marsh said.

Kennard Harris is going on strike Tuesday. He’s a pharmacy tech at the med center, and also a member of the patient protection task force.

“Radiology is also on the task force, any sort of major component of the hospital is going to be this task force,” Harris said.

While patient care remains his top priority, Harris says, the goal of the strike is to help the hospital understand employees are a top priority, too

“I’m glad they are standing up for what they need and want,” Loomis said.

Thousands of workers are expected to walk out, including hundreds at the UC Davis Medical Center.


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