Service Employees International Union Local 250 said it will file a civil lawsuit against 761-bed California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco; hospital parent Sutter Health; and staffing agency Modern Industrial Services. The move comes after the hospital temporarily replaced 1,000 employees who took part in a one-day strike Wednesday, said Bill Sokol, an attorney for the union. The suit, to be filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that California Pacific's advertisements for replacement workers failed to notify recruits of the labor dispute, as required by California labor laws, Sokol said. More than 4,000 SEIU members staged a 24-hour strike at California Pacific and eight other Sutter hospitals over contracts and staffing levels. The hospitals responded by replacing workers for an additional four days.
Sutter hospitals also hired temporary workers for the positions of 2,500 members of the California Nurses Association, who struck in solidarity, CNA spokesman Chuck Idelson said. The CNA is not party to the lawsuit. Sutter spokesman Bill Gleeson said hospitals opted to replace striking workers for a full five days to encourage the union to settle outstanding contracts and ensure continuity of care. Hospitals were "well within their legal rights" to arrange for replacement workers, Gleeson said. -- by Melanie Evans