Nurses at three Southern California hospitals threaten strike this week

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A nurses’ strike is looming in the Southland this holiday week.

Some 1,600 registered nurses plan to strike starting Thursday. They work at three Southland facilities all owned by the big hospital company HCA Inc.

West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley, Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks and Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside are all involved.

The Service Employees Union International represents the nurses. Federally mandated talks broke off.

Among the issues: the nurses want the hospitals to agree to higher staffing when nurses are serving patients in greater need. They want the nurse-to-patient ratio to be based on the level of illness. They also want nurses with greater education and training to get extra compensation.

The five-day walkout is expected to continue through Christmas weekend. Hospital officials say they will bring in temporary workers.