In a battle pitting urban-level wage expectations against rural realities, more than 150 registered nurses at Woodland (Calif.) Healthcare, a Mercy Sacramento hospital, walked off their jobs June 23 in a one-day strike to protest what they characterized as low wages and chronic labor shortages at the 121-bed facility.
But officials at Woodland, which is part of Catholic Healthcare West's Mercy Sacramento hospital system, said the California Nurses Association is asking for an astronomical 28% salary increase over three years, far more than the facility can afford. Woodland countered with an offer of 14% to 16%.
The hospital lost $8.5 million last year and nearly $2 million so far this year.
According to the union, Woodland RNs are paid $2.50 an hour less than other nurses in the Sacramento-based Mercy system, which the CNA says has made it difficult for the hospital to attract and retain experienced nurses. The result has been a series of closures of various hospital units, including intensive care and the emergency room, in recent months, CNA officials said.