LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Registered nurses at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood notified the hospital today of their intention to strike for 48 hours next month, their union announced.

A majority of the medical center’s 700 registered nurses voted Tuesday to strike from 6:45 a.m. Sept. 12 to 6:45 a.m. Sept. 14, following months of negotiations that haven’t yielded a new contract, according to the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals.

A hospital representative was not immediately available for comment.

At issue is a request by nurses for additional staffing in light of a marked increase in patients, according to the union. The fate of the nurses’ pension plan, which the union maintains is severely under-funded, is another sticking point.

The medical center has one of the only emergency rooms in South Los Angeles and has noted a significant increase in patients since closure of the troubled emergency room at Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital, according to the union.

“Last Saturday night alone we were short-staffed to handle multiple gunshot and stabbing wound victims that came into the ER,” said critical care nurse Scott Byington.

The union disseminated a statement of support from Assemblyman Isadore Hall III, D-Compton, saying he receives health care at St. Francis “so I know just how important the nurses are to the community.”

The nurses don’t want to strike, “but they have to do what they must to protect the residents of our district and their own families,” Hall says in the statement. “I stand completely with them in their struggle.”