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The largest nurse strike in Texas history started June 27 when hundreds of nurses organized with National Nurses United (NNU) walked out at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin (ASMCA).
Two other Ascension-owned hospitals in Wichita, Kansas, also had hundreds of nurses strike, resulting in over 2,000 workers on the picket line seeking safe staffing levels, better pay and improved working conditions from hospital executives with cash reserves of over $18 billion.
A loud group of IBEW 520 was in attendance. The Local even lent their 20-foot inflatable fat cat, smoking a cigar and holding a money bag, to show their support for the nurses.
The nurses were supported by crowds of community members from several Local Unions. The local unions supporting included UNITE-HERE Local 23, Restaurant Workers United, AFSCME 1624, ATU 1091, News Guild–CWA 32035, TSEU–CWA 6186, Austin EMS Association–CWA 6914, Education Austin, Air Line Pilots Association and United Workers of Integral Care–CWA 6154.
The number of supporters from 520 and Local Unions filled an entire block. Supporters were yelling and cheering for the NNU nurses all day; there was never a moment of silence.
IBEW 520 Supports NNU Nurses’ Strike
IBEW 520 stands in solidarity with the ASMCA nurses. We believe all nurses deserve fair contracts, including good pay, benefits and safe working conditions.
Striking is a team effort, and other Local Unions showing their support and providing food and water was a big boost for the striking.
As the nurses were striking, hundreds of cars honked in support, including truck drivers, while cheers were heard from nearby buildings as community members set up camp to watch the strikers.
Hospitals would not run the same without nurses, and patients would not receive adequate care.
Several organizations helped the nurses organize their strike. The nurses shared it was the ultimate trial by fire to organize a brand-new union in Texas, and having the support of other Local Unions made a significant difference.