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At some Bay Area facilities, Sutter Health nurses and staff plan to go out on Monday

More than 8,000 Sutter Health nurses and healthcare workers are planning an all-day strike Monday at more than a dozen Northern California healthcare facilities over better health and safety standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic which they say has led to “moral distress” among workers.

After 10 months of contract negotiations, workers are urging management to invest in “pandemic preparedness safeguards,” including adequate stocks of personal protective equipment, increased nursing staff and an equal voice on work committees. health and safety.

“I hope by going on strike it finally inspires Sutter to take nurses seriously. We deserve a strong contract not just to recruit nurses, but to retain the nurses we have now,” said Renee Waters, nurse for 26 years at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, noting that the pandemic has put a magnifying glass on the needs of healthcare workers. . “The strike is a last resort.

Workers have been negotiating with Sutter Health over their concerns since June, according to the California Nurses Association.

“We hope our continued willingness to bargain in good faith will encourage the union to call off this costly and disruptive strike and instead work towards an agreement that recognizes our nurses for their important work while maintaining the strength and stability of our hospitals for all. . that depend on us,” Sheets wrote.

Sutter Health officials are “pleased” the union has “come back to the table after hiring federal mediators,” but want the union to call off the planned strike, organization spokeswoman Angie Sheets wrote in an email.

Union officials and workers say they have already tried to reach an agreement, without success.

“We have repeatedly tried to address the chronic and widespread problem of staff shortages that cause delays in care and potentially put patients at risk, but hospital administrators continue to ignore us,” Amy Erb, a nurse who works in intensive care at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, said in a press release for National Nurses United, a national union of registered nurses.

Summary of news:

  • At some Bay Area facilities, Sutter Health nurses and staff plan to go out on Monday
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