Press Release

East Bay, Vallejo Sutter Nurses Strike Thursday

Registered nurses at seven Sutter hospitals in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties will hold a one-day strike on Thursday, November 1.

The walkout is in response to demands by Sutter corporate officials for sweeping reductions in patient care protections and nurses contract standards at these hospitals. The strike will involve about 3,200 RNs as well as several hundred respiratory, X-ray and other technicians.

“We have been in negotiations going on 18 months and during this time hospital management has repeatedly misrepresented us as nurses and has shown a lack of respect for the hard working women and men who are the backbone of our hospital,” said Ann Gaebler, an Alta Bates RN.  “As staff nurses, we have a responsibility to fight to maintain standards of care for our patients.  We cannot allow the erosion to patient care that Sutter's proposed takeaways would represent.”

See the Action as it Happens!

Hospitals affected by the strike: Picketing begins at 7 a.m.

  • Alta Bates Summit, Berkeley, 2450 Ashby, Berkeley. Rallies at 11 a.m., 7 p.m.
  • Alta Bates Summit, Herrick, 2001 Dwight, Berkeley
  • Alta Bates Summit, Oakland, 350 Hawthorne, Oakland. Rally at 1 p.m.
  • Eden Medical Center, 20103 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. Rally at 12 noon
  • San Leandro Hospital, 13855 E. 14th Street, San Leandro. Rally at 3 p.m.
  • Sutter Delta, Antioch, 3901 Lone Tree Way, Antioch. Rally at 12 noon
  • Sutter Solano, Vallejo, 300 Hospital Drive, Vallejo. Rally at 12 noon

Media Fact Sheet:

Why are RNs on strike?

Sutter is demanding some 100 major concessions in patient care conditions and reductions in RN health coverage, retirement security, and workplace rights and conditions. RNs are also protesting widespread cuts by Sutter in patient care services.

“Sutter needs to respect the nurses' right to be advocates for their patients. We must be able to care for our patients without having our professional standards eroded.  That is what this contract fight is all about,” said Elena Ballard an RN at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

By contrast, hospital officials at Sutter’s Mills-Peninsula Health Services in San Mateo County decided last month to withdraw more than three dozen substantial reductions in patient care protections and nurses’ economic and contract standards, as well as provide improvements in safe staffing – and quickly reached agreement on a new collective bargaining contract with the RNs.

Earlier, nurses reached agreements with Sutter Santa Rosa, Sutter Lakeside in Lakeport, and Sutter VNA of Santa Cruz, as well as Sutter Roseville and Sutter Auburn Faith, all reminders that agreements based on good faith negotiations and fair contracts are within reach.

Sutter does not need to make these drastic cuts

  • Sutter has accumulated nearly $4.2 billion in profits since 2005, according to its own audited financial statements.
  • Sutter is among the wealthiest hospital chains in the U.S. – and has the highest net patient revenue per employees among U.S. hospital systems, according to a Modern Healthcare survey
  • Sutter paid 28 top executives more than $1 million in compensation, an aggregate $46.7 million in 2010 alone, by far the most lavish spending on executives among all California hospital systems.
  • Sutter is presently building a massive new, 300,000 square foot administrative office center in Roseville, another sign of its expansive wealth, and spending away from the bedside.
  • Sutter is spending tens of millions of dollars on a questionable computerized electronic medical system, Epic Systems, the same controversial system that has been charged with putting patients at risk at Contra Costa County’s correctional facility

Key concession demands at various Sutter hospitals (partial list):

  • 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.
  • Cutting the rest time between shifts to 6 hours, an unsafe precedent for patients and the hospital workforce.
  • Eliminating all health coverage for nurses who work less than 30 hours per week and slashing the pay in lieu of benefits for all non-benefited nurses.
  • Reduced pregnancy and family medical leave, undermining RN families.