The California Nurses Association and National Nurses United announced a one-day strike at eight hospitals next week, including the Bay Area hospital where a patient died in September under the care of a nurse hired to replace striking union nurses.
Calif. nurses set date for one-day strike
The walkout, scheduled for Dec. 22, could involve as many as 6,000 nurses, 4,000 of which work at Bay Area hospitals, and the other 2,000 at 420-bed Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in southern California, according to a union news release.
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland is among the hospitals that would be affected. The unions held a strike on Sept. 23 which included 21 hospitals, including Alta Bates. The hospital’s parent, Sutter Health, hired replacement nurses during the work stoppage and said they were forced to honor five-day contracts. That prevented union nurses from returning to work immediately. A 68-year-old female cancer patient then died on Sept. 26, and officials blamed the death on a replacement nurse’s medical error.
The California Department of Public Health began an investigation of the death in September. The investigation continues and the department declined to provide any further details, a spokesman said.
Union officials quickly shot back with a statement calling the situation a lockout and dangerous for patients. The California Hospital Association blasted the union’s response, saying they used the patient’s death as a negotiation tactic.
Sutter Health officials maintain they have been fair to union workers, and said a full-time union nurse earns an average of $136,000 annually. The union said they have 200 demands, including objections to increases in out-of-pocket costs to health coverage.
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