Nurses Strike, Replacements on Job in Long Beach

Replacement workers will remain on the job until Tuesday, according to hospital system officials

About 2,000 registered nurses from Long Beach Memorial  Medical Center and the affiliated Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach went on strike for 24 hours Thursday, but hospital officials said they have hired replacements and plan to keep the striking workers locked out until next week.

The walkout began at 7 a.m. The nurses are represented by the California Nurses  Association/National Nurses United.

"It's unfortunate that during the holidays our work family is  fracturing in this way," said Dr. Susan Melvin, associate chief medical  officer for Long Beach Memorial. "But it absolutely will not impact hospital  services."

The replacement nurses have been contracted for five full days instead of the 24 hours for which the walkout was scheduled, officials said.

The employees have been working without a contract since September. Representatives are upset over what they call major increases in nurses' out-of-pocket costs for health coverage.

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