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Northern California Sutter RNs to Strike May 1 To Protest Attack on Patient Care, RN Standards

NNU Blog, 4/26/12

Where to Join the Picket Line, and at Strike Rallies Tuesday

Northern California RNs will strike eight Sutter corporation hospitals Tuesday, May 1 to once again protest the wealthy corporation’s outrageous demands for more than 100 reductions in patient care protections and RN standards.

The nurses will also protest ongoing cuts in patient services – the latest being the expected announcement by Sutter next week that it intends to close the San Leandro hospital, abandoning the thousands of patients who depend on that hospital every year for acute care.

Sutter is making these demands for contract concessions and sweeping cuts in care despite making over $4 billion in profits since 2007, and handing its chief executive Pat Fry at 215 percent pay hike to over $4 million a year, in addition to salaries of over $1 million a year to some 20 other top executives.

Join the Sutter RNs on the picket line, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following facilities:

The strike is occurring at the following facilities:

  • Alta Bates Main Campus, 2450 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley  
  • Alta Bates Herrick Campus, 2001 Dwight Way, Berkeley (psychiatric care facility)
  • Alta Bates Summit Campus, 350 Hawthorne Avenue, Oakland
  • Eden Medical Center, 20103 Lake Chabot Rd, Castro Valley
  • San Leandro Hospital, 13855 E. 14th St., San Leandro
  • Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, 1501 Trousdale Drive, Burlingame
  • Mills Health Center, 100 S. San Mateo Drive, San Mateo
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital, 5176 Hill Road East, Lakeport
  • Novato Community Hospital, 180 Rowland Way, Novato
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center, 300 Hospital Drive, Vallejo  
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center, 3901 Lone Tree Way, Antioch

Rallies are planned at the following locations:

  • Alta Bates, Ashby hospital, Berkeley – 11 a.m.  
  • Sutter Solano, Vallejo – 11 a.m.
  • Sutter Delta, Antioch – 12 noon
  • Eden Medical – 12 noon
  • Alta Bates, Summit hospital – 1 p.m.
  • Peninsula – 2 p.m.
  • Sutter Lakeside- 3 p.m.
  • San Leandro – 3 p.m., followed by Town Hall meeting, San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 E. 14th Street

Among the many concession demands at various Sutter hospitals:

  • Eliminating paid sick leave, effectively forcing nurses to work when ill, exposing already frail and vulnerable patients to further infection.
  • Forcing RNs to work in hospital areas for which they do not have appropriate clinical expertise, again a safety risk for patients.
  • Huge increases in nurses’ out-of-pocket costs for health coverage for themselves and family members.
  • Limits on the ability of charge nurses, who make clinical assignments for nurses, to address staffing shortages, subjecting patients to the danger of unsafe staffing.
  • Forcing RNs to work overtime, exposing patients to care from fatigued nurses who are more prone to making medical errors.
  • Eliminating retiree health plans.
  • Eliminating all health coverage for nurses who work less than 30 hours per week.
  • Reduced pregnancy and family medical leave, undermining RN families.

Concurrently, Sutter continues to make substantial cuts in patient services throughout the region, especially in areas it considers inadequately profitable, such as mental health, cancer screening, and services for women, children, and seniors.

“Sutter’s tone at the bargaining table has been dismissive and disrespectful of nurses' concerns,” said Mills-Peninsula RN Genel Morgan. “They have misjudged our resolve to stand up and safeguard our nursing standards, and to ensure our patients don’t suffer from Sutter wanting to cut these standards. Sutter has used half truths and lies to justify their objectives, but we see right through them, much as the community sees through them whenever Sutter cuts services. “

“Sutter has passed the stage of ‘too big to fail’ going to ‘too big to care’,” said CNA/NNU co-president Zenei Cortez, RN. “They have shown they are far more interested in amassing wealth than caring about community health or the nurses who provide care for the patients who are the base of Sutter’s huge profits. Sutter RNs will never accept a reduced voice to speak out for patients, or an erosion in their own standards.”

Sutter’s additional abandonment of communities and patients (partial list):

  • End breast cancer screening for women with disabilities and most bone marrow transplant services for cancer patients at Alta Bates Summit in Oakland and Berkeley.
  • Stop providing psychiatric services under contract with Sacramento County for more than 225 Sacramento children.
  • Close specialized pediatric care, acute rehabilitation, dialysis, and skilled nursing care services at Mills and Peninsula hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo.
  • Close home health services and limit acute-care hospital stays in Lakeport.
  • Close acute rehabilitation services, skilled nursing care, and psychiatric services, and substantially downgrade nursery care for sick children at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley.
  • Sharply cut psychiatric care at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley.
  • Close a birthing center at Sutter Auburn Faith, forcing new mothers and families to travel up to 100 miles for obstetrics care, while giving a $1 million gift to the Sacramento Kings.
  • Close pediatric, psychiatric, lactation, and transitional care services in Santa Rosa.
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