4,000 Nurses strike for patient care.
- 7Mar 28, '08 by Chico David RN4,000 brave women and men, RNs from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, are spending this week on the picket lines outside of Sutter Health Hospitals throughout Northern California, on a 10-day strike over patient care issues. This is an important strike for a re-energized American labor movement and a key moment for the nation’s battle for quality healthcare.
This is a long strike for any worker, but one that turns on the most basic issues of nursing and patient safety. Sutter Health is, even by HMO standards, an outlier in their push to cut corners on patient care in order to bump up corporate profits. You can’t argue with their success on either count. In 2006, Sutter reported record profits of $587 million. Much of those profits come from routinely understaffing their hospital units by denying meal and rest breaks to nurses. As a practical matter, what this means is that if a nurse, in the midst of a 12-hour shift, decides to take her lunch break…then her patients lose coverage.
Hasn't every nurse faced that ethical dilemma? Grab a sandwich or make sure my sick patients are cared for? Especially for nurses, who define our work as “patient advocacy?” And, under California's landmark staffing law, it's no longer legal.
That’s why these nurses had to walk out and make a personal sacrifice for the good of their patients and their profession.
Sutter’s response? To embark on a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and lies. Sutter has threatened to fire strikers, cut off health benefits, has posted guards at nursing stations to glare at RNs, and has taken to regularly demonizing its own nurses in the press.
The good news? Sutter foolishly picked a fight with a group of (mostly) women who are not easily intimidated…especially by some corporate hack who have shown they don't care about patient care.
The better news? This strike affirms the relevance of America’s labor movement to the key questions our country is undergoing. This strike has been marked by deep public support and sympathy, with Sutter Health’s behavior roundly criticized by elected officials, the public, and the news media. High-profile strikes like this that win over the public make it easier for other groups of workers to stand up for their own rights. It’s worth noting that the recent increase in the numbers of unionized workers has largely come from the ranks of healthcare workers—and that CNA/NNOC is the nation’s fastest-growing union.
And the best news? The nurses of Sutter Health are demonstrating the way forward in our country’s struggle for guaranteed healthcare. A major reason our health system is so dysfunctional is that corporations like Sutter Health have rigged the system and treat patients as profit-makers, not as human beings. If we can win patient safety advances at Sutter, we can win them across the country—especially if we inspire the nation’s nurses to continue taking their patient advocacy from the bedside to the statehouse and even to the streets.
If these nurses inspire you, why not call the CEO of Sutter, Pat Fry at 916 286 6752 and tell him it’s time to settle with the nurses!
For more on the Sutter fight and ongoing news, go to: www.calnurses.org
- 2Mar 29, '08 by herring_RN Guideseems like another hospital chain where the bottom line supercedes patient care.
sutter hides health costs
legislation seeks to remove gag clauses
blasted in 2004 for operating some of the region's highest-cost hospitals, the sutter health system jumped into action: not to cut prices, but to put gag clauses in its contracts with northern california health plans that precluded them from releasing cost information without sutter's permission.
- 1Mar 29, '08 by herring_RN GuideNurses to Hold Major Unity Rally Sunday As Successful Sutter Strike Concludes
The ten-day RN strike has been one of the longest and most spirited in recent Bay Area history. Sutter has engaged in a series of retaliatory measures against nurses, including threats of loss of employment and health benefits, that led the California Nurses Association on Thursday to file a series of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board.
The result of such harassment has been to unify the RNs, leading to 95 percent participation in the strike.
The dispute at the heart of the strike is patient care, with nurses protesting Sutter’s systemic endangerment of patients by understaffing.
The nurses are also striking for fair healthcare and retirement benefits, and to stop Sutter from "medical redlining," the closing of community hospitals in medically-underserved areas. ...
- 2Mar 30, '08 by Chico David RNOne of the most exciting things about this strike has been seeing the unity and strength of a lot of nurses from different parts of the Sutter system, maintained in the face of the employer campaign to try to divide them and treat it as separate negotiations. Very well done.
- 1Mar 31, '08 by herring_RN GuideBay Area Sutter Nurses End 10-Day Strike
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS) ― As a 10-day nurses strike came to an end, union leaders and hospital officials say they are ready to get back to the bargaining tables, but neither has done so.
"It's always difficult to strike. It's a last resort. We would much rather be in there taking care of our patients," said Ilene Prendeville, a registered nurse at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. "We're striking for patient care, for proper staffing language according to the law. We want adequate break relief, we would like lift-teams 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, not just 9 to 5 Monday through Friday." ...
- 1Apr 3, '08 by herring_RN Guideas successful sutter strike concludes, sutter nurses call on chain to fix patient care problems
a strike by 4,000 registered nurses at ten bay area sutter facilities concluded this morning with nurses walking together back into work, resolved to force sutter to deal with the very serious patient care problems endemic to the chain.
the strike was marked by an average of 95 percent participation across units, deep community and public support, and a campaign of intimidation against rns coordinated by the highest levels of sutter management.
sutter rns are calling on the hospital chain to return to negotiations and begin to work with the rns -- instead of attacking them -- to resolve the serious patient care problems that are at the center of the months long dispute….
…"i'm inspired by the courage and resolve of sutter rns as we once again stood up for ourselves and our patients despite an atmosphere of threats and intimidation," said alta bates summit rn jan rodolfo, who is also the national cna/nnoc secretary.
the strike that concluded today was the third walkout by sutter rns following earlier strikes last fall. 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 or rest breaks….
- 2Apr 6, '08 by herring_RN GuideBoard Of Supervisors Cites "Medical Redlining" As Sutter's Motivation For Closing St. Luke's
The Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco today condemned Sutter Health for medical redlining with its attempts to close St. Luke's Hospital, and directed the city attorney to explore legal options to keep the hospital open as a full acute-care service facility. Sutter's attempted closure of St. Luke's has sparked widespread opposition, including many community protests and three strikes by the registered nurses employed there....
...Zenei Cortez, RN, a member of the CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents said, "This is an unprecedented effort between elected officials, caregivers, patients, and the community to save St. Luke's Hospital. We applaud Supervisor Mirkarimi's leadership in this effort. Closing this facility, with its mission to serve the underserved, will harm San Francisco's public health. We just can't let that happen." ...
- 1Jun 24, '08 by ColfaxThe Sutter strike ended almost three months ago. Can you update us on the results of that strike, Chico David RN?
Have Sutter and the RNs agreed to a contract? If not has there been any progress in negotiations? Will the Sutter RNs be going out on strike again?
Thanks in advance for any updates you can provide, Chico David RN.
- 2Jun 26, '08 by Chico David RNEven though I am in that union, I'm not a Sutter nurse and not been real directly involved with that situation.
What I know, or think I know, is that there are still major areas of disagreement and that they vary from hospital to hospital. I'll try to find out and get someone who is more familiar with it to post a more comprehensive response.
Sorry I can't do better myself.