CNA RNs, Labor Supporters Join Sutter Solano RNs to Condemn Illegal Attacks on Nurses’ Rights

Sutter Solano registered nurses, joined by RNs from other hospitals and local labor leaders spoke out Tuesday to condemn the Vallejo hospital executives for illegal threats and disciplinary actions against nurses who have exercised their collective rights to protest sweeping concession demands.


“Nurses across the country are watching the struggle of the Sutter nurses,” said Martha Kuhl, treasurer of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United and a Children’s Oakland RN who chaired the rally which drew more than 50 nurses and supporters.


CNA has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board over blatant and illegal violation of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act over threats by Sutter Solano management to the Vallejo, Ca. nurses of discipline in an attempt to intimidate RNs from joining a one-day strike in December.


“Sutter comes at us with rocks in their fist,” but nurses know “we have a right to fight for a fair and just contract,” said Sutter Solano RN Jolayne Haines.


The hospital demanded that all Sutter Solano RNs report to work on December 24, even those not scheduled for shifts on that day. After the strike, Sutter Solano issued letters of warning against the RNs for not working the one-day strike and for those who did not work during the four-day lockout which the hospital imposed.


When the threats were first issued, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, which represents the Solano RNs, filed immediate charges with the National Labor Relations Board over the blatant and illegal violation of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. 


“We will not tolerate” this attack on any nurses, said CNA Board member Kathy Donahue, a Kaiser Oakland, RN. “United we stand.”


“We are an army of CNA nurses that demand fair treatment. We will not let Sutter Solano RNs fall,” said Sutter Alta Bates Summit Oakland RN Lucy Riley.


The law establishes a clear right for employees to engage in collective action, including the right to strike, without fear of retaliation, harassment, or discipline by their employer. Regional NLRB officials are expected to act on the CNA charge by the end of January.


The nurses were joined at the rally by Teamsters Local 315 leader Carlos Borba who linked the fight to the national attack on workers and unions across the country. “You’re facing the same thing all of labor is,” he said.


“Your fight is about patient care. On behalf of the 60,000 members of the Napa-Solano Central Labor Council, we are there for you,” said Jon Riley, executive director of the council.


“We are the backbone of these hospitals. It gives me a lot of strength to know we are there for each other,” said Sutter Delta RN Melissa Thompson.


Efren Garza, RN at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Herrick facility in Berkeley blasted Sutter management for giving out 150 percent pay raises to top executives while demanding massive takeaways from nurses, such as a proposal to effectively “give up our sick leave. We need to stay united and Sutter will be defeated. We are united. We are union.”