Sutter Nurses Staging One-Day Strike Wednesday

By: Ja'Mein Beale - Wed, 13 Jun 2012 13:41:21 -0800

REGIONAL (BCN)--About 4,400 registered nurses at 10 hospitals in the Bay Area  managed by Sutter Health are staging a one-day strike on Wednesday to  protest concessions that they say Sutter management is demanding.
     
The strike is the latest in a series of strikes by members of  the California Nurses Association over contracts that have been under  negotiation for about a year. The most recent strike was on May 1.
     
Union spokeswoman Liz Jacobs says nurses are striking to protest concessions demanded by management such as eliminating  paid sick days, requiring nurses to pay for health care for themselves and  their families and eliminating retiree health plans.
     
However, Sutter spokeswoman Karen Garner said nurses are highly  paid, earning an average of $136,000 per year, but union leaders "want  double-digit wage increases and free health care for life which will increase  costs at our hospitals by tens of millions of dollars each year."
     
Garner said, "We will continue to offer competitive wages and  benefits but will reject unreasonable demands that unnecessarily increase  costs."
 
Jacobs said nurses are engaging in a one-day strike again "because  there's been absolutely no movement in bargaining by the hospital."
     
She said, "We've made compromises but Sutter hasn't."
     
Jacobs said the one-day walkout will occur at three Alta Bates  Summit Medical Center facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Mills-Peninsula  Health Services hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo, Eden Medical Center in  Castro Valley, San Leandro Hospital, Sutter Delta in Antioch, Sutter Solano  in Vallejo and Novato Community Hospital.
     
Garner said that as it has done in previous strikes, Sutter will  bring in replacement nurses to ensure that it maintains a full staff that can  offer the same level of service to its patients.
     
She said that although the nurses only plan to strike for 24  hours, Sutter has hired replacements for multiple days of work because most  replacement nurses have contracts that require them to work for multiple  days.
     
That means striking nurses will miss several days of work, Garner  said.
 
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