Press Release

Petaluma Nurses Picket in Support of Santa Rosa Hospital RN Strike for Patient Care—Saturday

Petaluma Valley Hospital RNs will be holding informational picketing at the two St. Joseph Health hospitals in Sonoma County in a show of support for nurses at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (SRMH), who begin a three-day strike Saturday, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced today. SRMH is represented by the Staff Nurses Association.

RNs at the two St. Joseph Health System facilities say they share a common goal: safe staffing and a focus on patients over profits. Bargaining is set to begin for Petaluma, Eureka, and Apple Valley facilities in early December.

What:                St. Joseph RNs Picketing in Support of SRMH Three-day Strike
When/Where:   11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Petaluma Valley Hospital
                          400 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, CA 94954
                          1:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m. Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital                            

                          1165 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95405
Note: Petaluma Valley RNs will be joining the picket line throughout the three-day strike.

St. Joseph Health System, the hospital chain based in Orange County that operates both PVH and SRMH, is demanding drastic cuts to the Santa Rosa nurses’ contract, including the elimination of staffing language that gives RNs the ability to effectively advocate for patients.  The hospital chain is also demanding severe economic takeaways, despite amassing nearly $200 million in profits last year.

PVH RNs held a one-day strike in mid-June to protest a 40 percent cut in “stand-by” pay for RNs who are required to be available to work, and a policy that forced a  substantial portion of nurses be on call  rather than providing regular scheduled staffing, which has led to chronic understaffing at the facility.

The result was that far too many nurses were being put “on call” to work for up to 72 hours. This practice led to not only serious short staffing, that puts patients at risk, but also fatigue for nurses forced to be on call for long periods of time that affects their readiness to provide safe care if called in. The hospital’s staffing practices are part of what the RNs view as a pattern of practices that jeopardize patient safety and the ability of nurses to safely advocate for patients.

Just last week, St. Joseph Health System avoided a trial at the National Labor Relations Board at the last minute and settled unfair labor practice charges in favor of nurses at Petaluma who filed the charges, asserting the hospital was violating federal labor law with illegal implementation of cuts that adversely affected quality of care.