4-year 22.4% pay increase on table as Sutter nurses end 9-day strike

After a nine-day strike, members of the California Nurses Association returned to work Jan. 2 at Sutter Health's Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, which has three campuses in Oakland and Berkeley, according to hospital and union statements shared with Becker's.

The union said it represents 1,800 nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center campuses. Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is part of Sacramento-based Sutter Health, which includes more than 20 hospitals. 

Union members issued a strike notice amid contract negotiations, which have been ongoing since June 2021. The strike lasted from 7 a.m. Dec. 24 until 6:59 a.m. Jan. 2. 

A Sutter Health spokesperson told Becker's in a statement Jan. 3 that the health system's goal remains to "reach a fair contract that rewards our nurses and maintains the sustainability of our medical center in service to the patients and communities that rely on us. Now that the strike is over, we hope the nurses' bargaining team will take meaningful action on behalf of its members by responding to our fair, market-driven proposals and return to the bargaining table in good faith. The offer in front of Alta Bates Summit nurses is fair and market-competitive."

Sutter Health said its latest offer includes a minimum 22.4 percent pay increase over four years in addition to any applicable step increases; continued employer-paid health coverage for nurses and their families; comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans/measures; and paid time for nurse participation in the diversity, equity and inclusion council.

Meanwhile, the health system contends that the bargaining team at Alta Bates Summit is demanding "a nearly 40 percent wage increase," which "is well beyond their peers."

The union contends that hospital administration has refused to address nurses' serious concerns.

"Nurses stand ready to return to the bargaining table to negotiate an agreement that supports quality patient care, and underscore that the longer Sutter refuses to seriously address their concerns, conditions at the facilities will continue to deteriorate," a union statement says.

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