Doctors Medical Center Nurses Could Lose Jobs If Strike Continues
Nurses on strike at Doctors Medical Center, which has facilities in San Pablo and Pinole, have been informed by administrators that they could lose their jobs if they do not return to work on Wednesday, the Contra Costa Times reports (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 12/3). The nurses have been on strike since Nov. 4, after negotiations on a contract agreement failed. The California Nurses Association, which represents the nurses, and Tenet Healthcare, which owns the Doctors facilities, began contract negotiations on Aug. 31 when the nurses' contract expired, but the discussions ended without an agreement on Oct. 22. The nurses have asked for a pension plan under which the hospital would contribute 5% of nurses' incomes and for subsidized health benefits for retired nurses (California Healthline, 11/5). The hospital has been employing 140 temporary nurses each day of the strike, and fewer than 10% of striking nurses have crossed the picket line. Doctors' CEO Gary Sloan wrote in a letter to the nurses over the weekend, "Please be advised that the hospital reserves the right to hire permanent replacements for your position in December." Julie Kline, chief nursing officer at Doctors, said that the facility on Wednesday will begin recruiting to permanently replace all nurses on strike. Sloan added that although he hopes the two sides can come to an agreement, any "further progress on ending the month-long" strike cannot be made until CNA stops calling for a defined benefit pension plan, according to the Times. Kline said, "I think that we [already] have a very competitive and marketable package for nurses to work here" (Contra Costa Times, 12/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.