Nurses picket 15 Sutter facilities
RNs protest due to health and safety concerns
By Rachel Berger
Registered nurses at 15 Sutter Health hospitals across Northern California held informational pickets on Mar. 15 to protest Sutter’s refusal to address RNs’ proposals about staffing, workplace violence, and pandemic readiness.
“We have been on the front lines before and during this pandemic,” said Amy Erb, critical care RN at California Pacific Medical Center of San Francisco. “Throughout this time, we have witnessed Sutter Health become profitable while they refuse to invest in the resources we need in order for us to provide safe and effective care to our patients and community.”
Sutter Health RNs have been in contract negotiations since June 2021 for a new contract with little to no movement on key issues. The RNs urge management to invest in nursing staff and agree to a contract that provides safe staffing that allows nurses to provide safe and therapeutic care; pandemic readiness protections that require the hospitals to invest in personal protective equipment stockpiles and comply with California’s PPE stockpile law; presumptive eligibility for workers’ compensation that covers infectious diseases and protocols that ensure nurses have the resources needed to keep their patients and themselves safe; and workplace violence protections that include plans to mitigate and prevent violence within the hospitals and comply with the state’s workplace violence prevention law.
“Sutter Health is not investing in us, the nurses, or the community they should be serving,” said Renee Waters, RN in the trauma neuro intensive care unit at Sutter Roseville. “Instead, they are frequently using the word ‘commitment’ in their responses to us without actually agreeing to proposals that hold them accountable. Sutter failed us during the pandemic. Our proposals are intended to correct Sutter’s gaps in pandemic readiness and workplace violence prevention. We want to have a proactive approach to the protections we deserve. We need Sutter to back up their statements that we are heroes and valued, with agreements to our proposals at the bargaining table.”
The pickets took place in Vallejo, Santa Rosa, Crescent City, Tracy, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Castro Valley, Antioch, Auburn, Roseville, Lakeport, Burlingame, Novato, and Sacramento.
Rachel Berger is a communications specialist at National Nurses United.