Nurses May Strike at 10 CHW Hospitals in Northern California
Nearly 3,500 registered nurses at 10 Catholic Healthcare West hospitals in Northern California have agreed to hold a two-day strike if a contract agreement with the hospital chain cannot be reached, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The nurses agreed Friday to hold the strike "later this month" if contract negotiations do not progress, but California Nurses Association spokesperson Chuck Idelson said that if negotiations "improve," a strike "may not be necessary." Nurses are asking CHW for a 16% pay raise over two years, "greater control" over staffing levels and mandatory overtime, and better retirement benefits, particularly health benefits. According to Idelson, CHW does not provide health insurance for "some" retired nurses. A CHW spokesperson declined to comment on the issue, except to say that "negotiations had been going on for some time and would continue" and that the "hospitals would address the potential strike closer to the date, if a date is set." Bay area hospitals affected by the strike would include St. Mary's Medical Center and St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, Dominican Santa Cruz Hospital, Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy and Seton Medical Center in Daly City. The Mercury News reports that if the nurses strike, the hospitals might temporarily close emergency rooms to "walk-in traffic" and could postpone certain elective medical procedures (Feder, San Jose Mercury News, 6/2).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.