Nurses’ Union Begins Strike at 15 California Hospitals
About 5,000 members of the California Nurses Association on Wednesday began a two-day strike at 15 Northern California hospitals following stalled contract negotiations, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 10/11).
The strike is occurring at hospitals that are affiliated with Sutter Health and the Fremont-Rideout Health Group (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 10/9).
Contract negotiations began in April, but nurses and hospitals have been unable to reach a compromise on staffing levels, patient-care practices and retirement benefits, among other issues (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 10/9).
Charles Idelson, CNA's communications director, said many nurses "can't even take breaks a significant percentage of the time because of inadequate staffing" (Fresno Bee, 10/11).
However, Karen Garner, a Sutter Health spokesperson, said, "We believe the true goal of the strike is organizing rights," referring to the union's efforts to negotiate one contract for all Sutter hospitals rather than separate contracts at individual facilities (Bohan, Contra Costa Times, 10/11).
Nine hospitals in the Sutter network are negotiating separate contracts (Marshall, AP/New York Times, 10/11).
The hospitals maintain that their offers for wages and benefits are equal to or better than the union's contracts with other hospitals (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/10).
The hospitals have hired replacement nurses for the strike and said that services will not be disrupted. However, some patients have postponed elective procedures or rescheduled appointments (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 10/10).
Nurses are expected to return to work Friday morning at all but two hospitals. The other two facilities are expected to lockout its nurses until Monday due to a five-day contract with a company providing replacement nurses (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/10).
According to the union, contract negotiations have not been scheduled with any of the hospitals (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/10).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Thursday reported on the strike. The segment includes comments from a nurse participating in the strike (Adler, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 10/11).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.