Associated Press (3/21/08)
Huge Walkout by 4,000 Sutter RNs
A Dramatic Stand for Improved Patient Care 10-Day Strike Underway Across Bay Area
Some 4,000 registered nurses began a 10-day walkout Friday at 10 Bay Area hospitals operated by the Sutter Health chain in a dramatic protest over patient care conditions. More than 95 percent of the RNs struck the hospitals. Guaranteeing safe RN staffing at all times -- especially ensuring that Sutter RNs are able to take rest breaks and meals -- is one of several key patient safety issues that is at the center of the dispute.
About 4,000 nurses at eight Sutter Health hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area started striking Friday over a dispute about health care and pension benefits and the closing of hospitals in poor areas. The strike is expected to last 10 days. It affects hospitals in Antioch, Berkeley, Burlingame, Castro Valley, Oakland, San Francisco, San Mateo and Vallejo.From CBS5 in CA (3/23/08):
Hospital officials said they have brought in replacement nurses and that patient care won't be disrupted. All hospitals remain open. The California Nurses Association says the walkout was triggered by ongoing contract negotiations and Sutter practices that it says puts patients at risk.
Sutter Health said it has met the levels of staffing, health care and retirement benefits the union has demanded from other hospitals. It said the union's "real goal is more members and more dues money." Shum Preston, spokesman for the California Nurses Association, said that claim "is not what nurses are about. It's not why nurses are out here."
The California Nurses Association and its national arm, the National Nurses Organizing Committee, have a total of about 80,000 members in 50 states.
Nurses To Protest Hospital Closure In SF
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) ― Striking nurses will be marching through the streets of San Francisco Monday to protest Sutter Health's possible closure of St. Luke's Hospital.
Some 4,000 registered nurses from the California Nurses Association began striking at 7 a.m. Friday to prove to Sutter Health they are serious about negotiating a new contract. This strike is the third the association has called since October, as well as being the longest walkout of the three.
A Blue Ribbon Panel has been convened to discuss the future of St. Luke's Hospital. The panel hopes to produce a viable plan for acute care and outpatient services at the hospital, California Pacific Medical Center spokesman Kevin McCormack said.
McCormack also said that there are no plans to close the hospital and officials are merely reviewing their options on what services to offer at the facility. St. Luke's Hospital falls under the umbrella of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
Nurses at California Pacific marked the second day of their 10-day strike with a rally at noon Saturday. CNA spokesman Chuck Idelson said the rally went very well thanks to the "spirited group" of people who attended.
"We had quite a few nurses that were here, as well as representatives from community organizations," Idelson said.
Registered nurse Jonica Brooks said nurses are hoping the 10-day strike will push hospital officials back to the bargaining table. "We are ready to go back to the table unconditionally and at any time," she said.
Hospitals affected by the strike include St. Luke's Hospital and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, San Leandro Hospital, Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center in Berkeley and Oakland, Mills-Peninsula Health Services in Burlingame and San Mateo, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Sutter Delta in Antioch and Sutter Solano in Vallejo.
Representatives for the nurses have said they are striking to protest what they consider serious patient care issues including safe staffing even during rest and meal breaks, medical benefits and pension improvements. The nurses association is also protesting Sutter's alleged attempt to close three community hospitals in the Bay Area that serve a patient population that is poorer and composed of more people of color than other Sutter hospitals. Read Full Story