Bay Area Nurses to Strike on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve this year is really not a convenient time to fall ill
If you are feeling under the weather, now is a great time to stockpile Vitamin C.

Bay Area nurses are planning to walk off the job at various Sutter Health hospitals come Monday as part of a larger effort to draw attention to the inadequate staffing at regional hospitals.

Nurses have offered to call off the strike only if Sutter executives agree to withdraw demands for "sweeping and unwarranted reductions" in patient care and other contract standards (like sick time for nurses), which is at the heart of the dispute between the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United and local Sutter hospitals.

If Sutter fails to respond (and so far it has), the RNs will carry on with their 24-hour strike on Christmas Eve, affecting patients all the way down to San Jose, said Chuck Idelson, spokesman for the CNA.

As a precursor to what's to come, nurses yesterday staged a massive protest, picketing 21 Kaiser Permanente Hospitals from Fresno to the Bay Area, lamenting about the same issues -- cuts in much-needed healthcare.

"There's pervasive problems with inadequate staffing and growing problems with access to mental health care which has gotten a great deal of national attention for very good reasons having to do with violence associated with a small percentage of mental health patients," Idelson tells SF Weekly. "But those problems are exacerbated by huge cuts to mental health services."

Idelson says the nurses gave hospitals a 10-day warning of the pending strike, which he says gives medical staff plenty of time to postpone surgeries and find nurse managers to fill-in.

"Obviously, strikes are the last resort for nurses, but there's a corporation that makes billions on profits ... yet is trying to exact unwarranted and punitive cuts that affect patients," Idelson says.

Let's hope those nurses don't get sick standing out in the Christmas Eve cold.





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