Sutter nurses back to work after lock-out
By Caitlin Cassady
December 13, 2007
Nurses around the Bay Area returned to work today at 13 Sutter
Health hospitals after a 5 day lock out that resulted from the
second strike in as many months, according to a California Nurses
The strike began 7 a.m. Thursday and ended Saturday morning,
according to spokeswoman Liz Jacobs. Some of the hospitals hired
replacement workers on a 5-day agreement, who worked through Monday.
Nurses at the Alta Bates Summit, Eden, Sutter San Leandro, Mill-Peninsula
and Marin General hospitals returned to work today.
Sutter Health claims "impressive numbers" of nurses
showed up for work Thursday morning despite the strike.
As many as 66 percent worked at Sutter's Santa Rosa facility
and 62 percent at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center's three
campuses in Berkeley and Oakland, Sutter Health said in an e-mail.
At other facilities, between 18 and 50 percent of nurses crossed
the picket lines, according to Sutter Health.
A similar two-day strike was held in October.
Jacobs disputed Sutter Health's figures.
"For the most part, 95 percent honored the picket line in
October. At least 95 percent of the nurses honored lines this
time," she said.
The nurses are striking to protest what they consider serious
patient care issues including safe staffing at all times even
during rest and meal breaks, Sutter's attempt to close three community
hospitals in the Bay Area that serve a patient population that
is poorer and composed of more people of color than other Sutter
hospitals, and medical benefits and pension improvements.
"I think Sutter believed that maybe the nurses would go
out once but not twice," Jacobs said. "We proved them
Sutter Health officials say the nurses' union wants one master
contract for all Sutter hospitals so it will be easier for nurses
to join the union. The nurses union currently negotiates separately
with the Sutter Health facilities. No contract talks are scheduled
at this time.
"We are waiting for the dust to settle, and for Sutter to
come to its senses," Jacobs said. "We hope to have talks
going again soon."
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