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5,000 Northern California Nurses to Vote to Authorize Third Strike Against Sutter Chain
Date:2/27/2008

Nurses Concerned Over Serious, Ongoing Patient Care Problems Throughout

System

Sutter Solano First to Vote - Overwhelming Yes

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- In the face of what they describe as a "hostile" bargaining attitude by Sutter Health, registered nurses at 11 Sutter Health facilities in the Bay Area will vote this week and next on whether to authorize their bargaining teams to strike the hospital chain for a third time over serious issues of patient safety and patient care, as well as healthcare for nurses, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee reports today. Nurses at Sutter Solano voted first and yesterday overwhelmingly approved the bargaining team to call a strike of up to ten days.

5,000 RNs have walked out of Sutter facilities twice already. The key reason for the walkouts is the pattern of patient safety risks caused by Sutter's refusal to schedule RNs to care for patients when nurses are on legally-mandated meal, rest, or bathroom breaks. Such scheduling gaps leave patients unattended and at risk for sentinel events.

Nurses are also concerned over Sutter's attempts to close down three hospitals in medically-underserved areas (St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco, San Leandro Hospital, and Sutter Santa Rosa Medical Center), and to refuse to agree to fair settlements on issues of healthcare and retiree healthcare and pensions.

Despite significant movement by RNs at the bargaining table, Sutter has refused to deal seriously with any of the concerns raised by nurses, or to correct any of the patient safety risks nurses are raising. In the last strike, Sutter's response was to single out nurses for discipline who were said to have a "bad attitude" -- code words for patient advocacy. Things have not changed since.

"Sutter is not adequately staffing its units to ensure patient safety or appropriate care," said Genel Morgan
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SOURCE California Nurses Association
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