Nurses at Tacoma hospital plan boycott of extra shifts

TACOMA, Wash. --  Nurses at Tacoma General Hospital are planning to refuse to take extra shifts or to work voluntary overtime to protest hospital work practices.

The News Tribune reports that according to the Washington State Nurses Association, nurses have scheduled a boycott running from Thursday to Nov. 17.

Washington State Nurses Association bargaining team member Renata Bowlden says the hospital often calls nurses in for extra shifts, which can lead to burnout and nurse turnover.

The union has been bargaining with Tacoma General's owner, MultiCare Health System, for nearly a year.

One issue on the table is the hospital's break system. Currently nurses are allowed two 15-minute breaks per shift while another nurse watches both of their patients. The union argues the hospital should hire dedicated nurses to cover breaks, but hospital officials say that woud be too costly.