Nurses Strike Sutter for Patient Care
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Uploaded on Dec 22, 2011
4,000 Sutter RNs Hold One-Day Strike Today (Thursday, December 22, 2011)
Some 4,000 registered nurses held a one-day strike at nine Bay Area facilities Thursday, December 22, after officials of the wealthy Sutter corporation failed to respond to a RN proposal to call off the walkout if Sutter officials agree to withdraw major concessions in patient care protections and RN standards.
The one day walkout will affect Sutter hospitals in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Solano Counties. An additional 2,000 RNs are also scheduled to strike Thursday in Long Beach, over similar issues.
Affected hospitals are Alta Bates Summit Medical Center facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Mills-Peninsula hospital campuses in Burlingame and San Mateo, Eden Medical Center facilities in Castro Valley and San Leandro, Sutter Delta in Antioch, and Sutter Solano in Vallejo.
The RNs will have a patient protection task force available at each facility to assist in the event of a genuine patient care emergency inside the hospitals. Each hospital received 10 days advance notice to postpone elective surgeries, transfer out any patients as needed, and make other preparations.
Sutter's demands for some 150 unwarranted contract takeaways are at the heart of the dispute. Just last week, nurses at a smaller, former Sutter hospital, Marin General, did reach a contract agreement with hospital officials after that hospital agreed to withdraw similar proposed concessions.
Sutter, which has amassed over $3.7 billion in profits since 2005, pays over $1 million to each of 20 top corporate executives, and increased their CEO Pat Fry's salary by 20% to $4.7 million last year, is demanding contract takeaways that, among others, would undermine RNs' ability to effectively advocate for patients and effectively force nurses to work when sick by eliminating paid sick leave, dangerously exposing extremely ill patients to infection.
Ironically, while demanding the elimination of paid sick leave for its nurses, one of Alta Bates' own doctor executives was quoted in the Oakland Tribune Sunday encouraging workers to stay home when sick, saying: "Nobody wants a sick person coming into the office."
Sutter RNs also oppose management's bid to reduce nurses' healthcare coverage, with huge increases in nurses' out-of-pocket costs for health coverage, elimination of health benefits for part-time RNs, and other cuts that would result in thousands of dollars in economic loss for RNs.
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