By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 12/15/14, 9:13 PM PST | Updated: 15 secs ago

About 30 nurses from Arrowhead Regional Medical Center will address the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Tuesday following a two-day strike last week in protest of low pay and poor working conditions.

Contract negotiations between the county and nurses represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United hit an impasse on Dec. 8, with neither side coming to an agreement. Negotiations have spanned 14 months.

The following day, hundreds of ARMC nurses did not show up for work, striking for two days, demanding higher pay.

“We are going to continue to do whatever we can to get the county to start paying attention to the issues that we’re raising,” said Rhonda Watts, chief nurse representative for about 1,250 nurses working for the county.

Arrowhead transferred 94 patients to other hospitals leading up to and during the strike. No patients were transferred since the walkout and strike ended, county spokesman David Wert said.

“The transfers were necessary because the walkout reduced the number of nurses available to serve patients. The real effect was on the patients and their families,” Wert said Monday in an e-mail. “Some of the patients were in critical condition and moving them was a great risk to their health. And their families have had to travel great distances to visit them. But with nurses not showing up to work, there was no choice.”

The county sought a court-ordered injunction to block the strike. San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Pamela King issued an order prohibiting 60 specialty nurses from striking, including those in ARMC’s specialized burn unit.

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United represents about 900 who work at ARMC and some 330 that work in county jails, juvenile hall, community clinics and in various county health initiatives.

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