BAY AREA: Hospital Workers End Two-Day Strike
With both sides claiming victory, a two-day strike by 3,500 Bay Area hospital workers ended Thursday without a resolution to the labor dispute with seven Bay Area hospitals, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The workers were demanding more say in staffing decisions. Although the targeted hospitals, owned by Catholic Healthcare West and Sutter Health, were forced to hire replacement workers and cancel a few elective procedures, hospital officials said the strike did not cause any major disruptions. Robert Polzoni, vice president of CHW, called the strike a "dismal failure," noting that all CHW hospitals ran "smoothly and effectively." However, John Borsos, the Service Employees International Union Local 250 hospital division director, claimed victory, stating, "The success of today's strike makes another strike another option." Sherry Willis, spokesperson for the Alameda County's Public Health Department, said the strike was a draw because it did not have a significant impact on the Bay Area's health care system, but forced county officials to spend extra time on contingency plans. No talks have been scheduled between the two sides.
Last week's strike did not receive "formal support" from the California Nurses Association, which backed the hospital workers' July 6 strike. CNA spokesperson Jim Ryder said that "an overwhelming majority" of its members went to work. The CNA had asked Local 250 to delay the start of the strike for 30 days to allow for discussions, but the union refused. The Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association, which represents 3,000 East Bay physicians, denounced the strike. Association President Dr. Michael Ranahan said, "I don't think it helps. It's disruptive to patient care" (Pimentel, 8/4).