SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/BCN) — Poor working conditions at the Chinese Hospital in San Francisco inspired nurses to hold a one-day strike Tuesday, noting their workplace is bad enough to drive away experienced nurses and dissuade new ones from joining.

The nurses demonstrated in front of the hospital to call for the administration to create a better working environment, which includes providing bedside RNs with meal and break relief during their shifts.

READ MORE: Firefighters at Scene of Morgan Hill Gas Leak; Some Evacuations Ordered

“For nurses, this means ensuring we have safe staffing at all times. That means having nurses with the experience and expertise to notice and respond to the subtle changes in condition of our extremely vulnerable patients, so that we are able to take the meal and rest breaks we need with the assurance our patients are receiving the care they need,” said Sherry Yee, a nurse at Chinese Hospital.

Nurses demonstrate on the picket line in front of Chinese Hospital in San Francisco, Calif. on Aug. 25, 2020 (Photo courtesy of California Nurses Association)

The Chinese Hospital nurses, who are a part of the California Nurses Association union, have been negotiating with Chinese Hospital for a collective bargaining contract since February 2020.

Retention of RNs is another issue the strike aims to bring attention to, since the large number of monolingual Chinese-speaking patients require a large number of bilingual RNs.

READ MORE: Oakland City Council Votes to Defund Police, Stripping More Than $17M from Department Budget

“Chinese Hospital RNs are very disappointed that the hospital has not taken more seriously the problem they have created with recruitment and retention. We have lost far too many experienced nurses due to their unwillingness to stay competitive with San Francisco-area RNs,” said nurse Alson Toy.

Chinese Hospital countered the strike with a news release noting that the hospital has offered nurses a 6.4%-average wage increase. The hospital also decried the timing of the strike, which began at 7:30 a.m., because 7 a.m. is the “hand off” between the night and day shifts, where nurses are briefed on any developments in their patients’ condition.

“Chinese Hospital is an important part of our community,” said the hospital’s board of trustees chair Kitman Chan. “Every time I walk into the Hospital, I see nurses proudly caring for this underserved community. When the CNA strike ends, I know that the nurses will come back where they are needed.”

MORE NEWS: Project Home: East Bay Startup Aims To Solve Housing Crunch With 3-D Printing Technology

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.