Thousands of Sutter Health workers to strike

Nurses and healthcare workers at Sutter Health facilities in Northern California will strike April 18 to call for safe staffing and health and safety protections, according to the unions that represent them

The strike affects healthcare employees at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center campuses as well as nurses at other Sutter Health facilities. The nurses are members of the California Nurses Association, and the other workers are members of the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union, an affiliate of the California Nurses Association.

More than 8,000 registered nurses and healthcare workers are participating in the strike, according to an April 18 news release from the unions.

Workers authorized a strike in March, and union officials announced an official strike notice April 8.  

"Nurses overwhelmingly voted to go out on strike because we see no other option left for us and our patients," Amy Erb, RN, who works in critical care at California Pacific Medical Center, said in the release. "We have tried repeatedly to address the chronic and widespread problem of short staffing that causes delays in care and potentially puts patients at risk, but hospital administrators continue to ignore us. We have a moral and legal obligation to advocate for our patients. We advocate for them at the bedside, at the bargaining table, and if we have to, on the strike line."

Nurses have been in contract negotiations since June. They have scheduled picketing at:

  • Sutter Solano Medical Center (Vallejo)
  • Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital
  • Sutter Coast Hospital (Crescent City)
  • Sutter Tracy Community Hospital
  • California Pacific Medical Center (San Francisco)
  • Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (Berkeley and Oakland)
  • Santa Cruz VNA
  • Eden Medical Center (Castro Valley)
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center (Antioch)
  • Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
  • Sutter Roseville Medical Center
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital (Lakeport) 
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center (Burlingame) 
  • Novato Community Hospital
  • Sutter Center for Psychiatry (Sacramento)

In a statement shared with Becker's, Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health called the strike "disruptive" and "costly."

"Union leadership has made it clear they are willing to put politics above patients and the nurses they represent — despite the intervention of federal mediators and our willingness to bargain in good faith while under threat of a strike," the statement said. "Our attention is on providing safe, high-quality care to the patients and communities we’re honored to serve. We are confident in our ability to manage this disruption. We are hopeful CNA shares our desire to reach an agreement and enable our nurses to turn their focus back to the patients the union has asked them to walk away from."

The strike is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Sutter Health has staffed hospitals with contracted replacement workers.

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