Sutter RNs Ready to Strike Wednesday, June 13
Sutter Seeks Huge Cuts Despite $4.19 Billion in Profits Since 2005
Advance Media Availability – Tuesday, June 12, 4 p.m., Oakland
Nurses Will Also Strike at Petaluma Valley Hospital Wednesday
Registered nurses at Sutter corporation hospitals in the Bay Area will be on strike Wednesday, June 13, the fourth short term walkout prompted by corporate demands for some 100 widespread reductions in patient care services and contract standards that affect patient care conditions and RN livelihood.
In advance of the strike, Sutter RNs will be available for media interviews on Tuesday, June 12 at 4 p.m. at the headquarters of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street in downtown Oakland.
One new factor is the decision of two Sutter hospitals to pull back from confrontation with their nurses and patients by withdrawing concession demands, which has led quickly to contract settlements with Sutter hospitals in Santa Rosa, and last week, Sutter Lakeside in Lakeport.
At other Bay Area hospitals, the strike is moving forward as top executives continue to close patient services and push onerous unwarranted cuts for nurses despite rolling up nearly $4.2 billion in profits since 2005.
Hundreds of RNs rallying at Sutter hospital in Oakland, Monday, June 11
On Monday, hundreds of nurses from around California rallied at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland to show nurse unity across the state with the fight of Sutter RNs to protect patient safety and oppose the cuts on nurses and patients.
The strike affects some 4,400 RNs as well as respiratory, X-ray and other technicians at three Alta Bates Summit facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Mills-Peninsula Health Services hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, San Leandro Hospital, Sutter Delta in Antioch, Sutter Solano in Vallejo, and Novato Community Hospital.
In addition, nurses will also be on strike at Petaluma Valley Hospital in Petaluma Wednesday. CNA/NNU represents some 140 RNs at that hospital which is part of the Orange County-based St. Joseph Health System. RNs at two other St. Joseph hospitals, St. Joseph Hospital, Eureka, and St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, will picket June 13 in support of their RN colleagues in Petaluma. The Petaluma walkout is to protest hospital administration demands for economic cuts which will lead to what the nurses say is illegal cuts in professional nursing practice standards and diminished patient care standards
On Wednesday, picket lines go up at 7 a.m. Rallies will be held at the following locations:
- Alta Bates Summit, Berkeley, 2450 Ashby, Berkeley, 11 a.m.
- Sutter Solano, Vallejo, 300 Hospital Drive, Vallejo, 11 a.m.
- Eden Medical Center, 20103 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley, 12 noon
- Sutter Delta, Antioch, 3901 Lone Tree Way, Antioch, 12 noon
- Petaluma Valley Hospital, 400 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, 12 noon
- Alta Bates Summit, Oakland, 350 Hawthorne, Oakland, 1 p.m.
- Mills Peninsula, Burlingame, 1501 Trousdale, Burlingame, 2 p.m.
- San Leandro Hospital, 13855 E. 14th Street, San Leandro, 3 p.m.
Sutter RNs will also continue to protest Sutter’s ongoing cuts in patient services throughout the region, including the latest closure of a unit at the Alta Bates Summit Herrick hospital in Berkeley that provides care for patients with long term disabilities. Sutter is slamming shut the facility and forcing families to move loved ones to be warehoused in a nursing home with lesser care in Pleasant Hill.
Sutter can well afford to meet its obligations to Bay Area communities and treat its RNs with respect, say the nurses. Since 2005, Sutter has racked up $4.19 billion in profits, according to its own audited financial statements. Sutter pays 21 top executives salaries over $1 million, several of them getting pay hikes of over 150 percent since 2005.
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.
- Closure of an acute care facility for patients with long term disabilities in Berkeley.
- 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.
Sutter’s record of abandoning 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 acute rehabilitation services, skilled nursing care, and psychiatric services, and substantially downgrade nursery care for sick children at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley.
- 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.