Sutter Health workers to strike second time

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More than 350 healthcare workers at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, Calif., plan to strike for a second time starting Nov. 8, according to the union that represents the workers.

Service Employees International Union–United Healthcare West said its members are concerned about staffing and working conditions, and a series of unfair labor practices prompted the vote to strike for a second time. 

"Employees at Sutter Delta Medical Center say conditions are dire for caregivers and patients inside their facility as management ignores concerns about understaffing and working conditions," the union wrote in a news release. "Workers are worried about patient and staff safety and say they've been pushed to the limit by their employer."

The union announced Sept. 14 that Sutter Delta workers planned to strike in October unless agreements were reached, and workers began a five-day strike Oct. 4. On Nov. 7, SEIU–United Healthcare Workers West announced plans to strike a second time.

A spokesperson for Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health expressed disappointment about the union's choice to strike again and said it has "no choice but to turn our focus to our top priority — meeting the needs of our patients by securing qualified workers to replace the staff who decide to walk off the job instead of caring for patients." The hospital will remain open during the second strike, as it did during the one in October.

In a statement shared with Becker's Hospital Review, the spokesperson said Sutter Delta also stands by its most recent offer, which includes a 13 percent salary increase over four years (3 percent yearly salary increases each year for three years and a 4 percent increase in the final contract year) and 100 percent employer-paid health coverage for employees and their families. 

According to Sutter Health, this contract was recently approved by more than 3,000 employees at seven of eight other SEIU-represented hospitals across the system.   

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West represents more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients and healthcare activists in California.

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