SACRAMENTO: Nurses Complain to Sutter Health About Lockout
Nurses took their grievances about Sutter Health to the group's headquarters Tuesday, "focusing heavily on what they called the recent 'lockout' of nurses at Marin General Hospital," the Sacramento Bee reports. Nurses were unable to return to work for five days after their one-day strike last month, because the replacement nurses hired to fill-in for the striking nurses demanded at least five days of work. But Kathie Graham, Marin General director of communications, said, "The nurses' union called the strike, and we had to deal with it," adding that hospital officials merely were assuring the community that despite the strike, the hospital would remain open. In an "impromptu meeting with a Sutter official," representatives of the California Nurses Association "demanded a commitment that Sutter would prohibit future lockouts of nurses." Sutter Human Resources Vice President Kenneth Buback responded, "We never participated in a lockout, and we never will." Graham explained that health care providers, specifically not-for-profit groups like Sutter, continue to face rising costs and confront a current nursing shortage in California. She said, "It is a constant balancing act to improve the care that you provide to the community while at the same time being financially healthy." The protest rally Tuesday of about 200 nurses came on the second day of a meeting "where Ralph Nader spoke and participants discussed what they said is a growing crisis in nurse staffing and patient care" (Henshaw, 3/24).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.