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5,000 Sutter Nurses Prepare for Second Strike Against Chain
Date:12/12/2007

RNs Demand Safe Patient Care in December 13 and 14 Walkouts at Thirteen

Facilities

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 5,000 RNs from thirteen Sutter Health facilities throughout Northern California are preparing for their second strike against the healthcare giant on Thursday, Dec. 13 and Friday Dec. 14, citing serious concerns over patient care and patient safety. Sutter has threatened a lockout at the majority of the affected facilities, lengthening the two-day strike into a four- or five-day lockout.

The strike issues for Sutter RNs are:

-- Patient care protections at Sutter hospitals

-- Reductions in health care coverage and retirement security for Sutter

RNs

-- Sutter proposals to eliminate essential patient care services in Bay

Area communities

Picketing begins at all facilities at 7 a.m.; nurses will also stage three major rallies:

WHAT: Bay Area Nurses Rally Against Sutter Health

WHERE: California Pacific Medical Center, 3700 California St., San

Francisco

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 13, 11:30 a.m.

WHAT: Bay Area Nurses Rally Against Sutter Health

WHERE: Mills Peninsula Health Services, 1501 Trousdale Dr., Burlingame

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 14, 11:30 a.m.

WHAT: San Francisco Nurses Rally to Save St. Luke's Hospital

WHERE: St. Luke's Hospital, Front Entrance, Cesar Chavez St. @ Valencia

St.

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 14, 2:30 p.m.

The RNs first walked out in October and experienced strong community support on the picket line, as they were joined by patients, doctors, elected officials, clergy, community groups, healthcare activists, advocates for seniors and the disabled, and others. In November, RNs voted overwhelmingly to authorize a second strike against Sutter, in the face of a harassment campaign by management targeting nurses for retribution.

Nurses are striking because Sutter's inadequate proposals leave serious patient care issues unaddressed, notably the demand for safe staffing at all times, even during nurse meal and rest breaks. Sutter has declined to guarantee that patient care will be protected in emergency rooms with dedicated Admit nurses and that hospital Rapid Response teams will be available if a patient's condition deteriorates. At the same time, Sutter's proposals for nurse health security, medical benefits, and pension improvements continue to be unsatisfactory to RNs and inferior to CNA standards established in contracts with Kaiser Permanente and other facilities.

Sutter's attempts to close community hospitals throughout the Bay Area have also been a major flashpoint for the nurses in their attempts to negotiate a new contract. Sutter aims to close St. Luke's Hospital, Sutter Santa Rosa, and San Leandro Hospital-all of which serve a patient population that is poorer and composed of more people of color than other Sutter hospitals. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday sent legislation to Mayor Newsom for his expected signature, that would aid the campaign to save St. Luke's by requiring Sutter Health to justify all future permits on the basis of citywide public health needs.

Sherry Ramsey, an ICU nurse at Sutter Solano said: "We are striking Sutter again mostly over working conditions, including no break relief and problems with compliance on the nurse-to-patient ratios. When Sutter forces nurses to work in unsafe conditions, we all pay the price with diminished patient care."

Genel Morgan, a CCU nurse at Mills-Peninsula added: "Sutter needs to address the patient care and patient and nurse safety issues, which are very serious to the nurses. Instead they seem to have decided on a harassment campaign which will only take us backwards."

Zenei Cortez, RN, a member of the Council of Presidents of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee commented: "There's a danger that we'll see an exodus of experienced nurses out of Sutter facilities. The working conditions are far below other hospitals in the Bay Area."

Sutter hospitals affected are St. Luke's Hospital and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center in Berkeley and Oakland, Mills-Peninsula Health Services in Burlingame and San Mateo, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, San Leandro Hospital, Sutter Delta in Antioch, Sutter Solano in Vallejo, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, and Sutter Novato.


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SOURCE California Nurses Association
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