Some 400 nurses and service employees staged an informational picket in front of Northridge Hospital Medical Center today to call attention to what the union representing them said were efforts by the hospital ownership to reduce job security.

The union, SEIU Local 121 RN, has accused Dignity Health, which owns the hospital, of trying to eliminate job protections through a new contract that would allow subcontracting, which the union said would enable the hospital to lay off experienced RNs.

“They want flexibility, but we want better patient care and job security,” said Gayle Batiste, president of 121 RN.

Pickets were also held in front of St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo. All three are Dignity hospitals.

The union also took issue with what they said were attempts by Dignity to take away the union’s ability to take issues brought before a Patient Care Committee to arbitration.

The pickets took place from 1 to 7 p.m. during employees’ off hours.

“We want management to know we are standing strong,” Batiste said. “It’s not about economics but our patients and our job security.”

A Northridge spokesperson has said the hospital continues to bargain in good faith to “reach a contract that is fair to our patients, our community, our organization and our employees.”

Judy Temes