"RNs take the possibility of a strike very seriously and nurses at 10 Sutter hospitals believe that if conditions don't improve, a strike may be the only answer," said Eileen Prendiville, an RN who works in the neonatal intensive care unit at CPMC and is on the CNA nurse negotiating team.
"Sutter must address the issues most important to nurses such as getting adequate rest in the midst of a 12-hour shift, which is a question of patient safety. Our Professional Practice Committees have been 'talking' to management about this issue for several years without resolve -- enough talk."
A major area of dispute is patient care protections, which the nurses aim to significantly strengthen. The RNs have proposed including specific 2008 RN-to-patient staffing ratios in their contract to assure compliance with the state law. Sutter has refused, as they have refused to agree to capping the number of hours that charge RNs are used for break relief, a dedicated meal and break relief nurse (especially important given 12-hour shifts), or a proposal that all patients are assigned directly to a registered nurse.
Sutter has also rejected the nurses' proposal for trained lift teams available 24 hours to protect patients from falls and nurses from back injuries.
Major differences also remain on critical issues such as healthcare for nurses and retirees. Establishing strong healthcare and retirement protections is a significant retention and recruitment issue, say Sutter RNs. They note that other hospitals such as those in the Kaiser chain, in a very competitive market during a nursing shortage, offer much better healthcare and retirement medical benefits.
Representing some 75,000 RNs in 50 states, the California Nurses
Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee is the largest and
|SOURCE California Nurses Association|
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