With the slogan “Strike Patient Safe Strike,” dozens of Sutter Health nurses and health workers gathered outside Eden Medical Center on Monday morning to demand better health and safety measures for workers and contract negotiations with the health giant.
More than 8,000 nurses and health workers are taking part in a one-day strike at 15 facilities across the Bay Area to urge management to invest in “pandemic readiness protections” after 10 months of contract negotiations, including adequate storage of personal protective equipment. , increase the number of nursing staff and have the same voice on health and safety committees.
Carol Hawthorne-Johnson, a registered nurse who has worked in the Eden Intensive Care Unit for 30 years and was on the picket, said the lack of staff and equipment during the pandemic has left nurses in jeopardy.
“Nurses can’t get clear patient calls fast enough. I work at the ICU and we have to qualify a million drops and we have to turn on a lot of alarms and get there faster and the nurses do. We work, but at the expense of breaks and meals,” he said. We are working overtime and come early to make sure patients are cared for safely. ”
“Without the right staff, our patients ultimately suffer because we don’t have the time to offer personalized care to every patient they all deserve,” said striker Ingrid Ragoobar, a nearly a decade of universal care nurses.
The company tried unsuccessfully to avoid a strike on Sunday. The union refused to suspend the action, even though negotiations began “with the involvement of a federal mediator,” spokeswoman Emma Dugas said. Sutter confirmed that he was bringing in replacement workers hired this week.
“Following today’s costly and disruptive strike, union leadership has made it clear that it is ready to put politics above the sick and the nurses it represents – despite the intervention of federal mediators and willingness to negotiate in good faith, while threatening to strike,” Sutter said. a spokesman said in a statement Monday. “Our focus is on providing safe quality care to the patients and communities we honor.”
“We are pleased that negotiations with the California Nurses Association (CNA) have resumed with the involvement of a federal mediator,” another statement from Sutter read on Monday. “However, they have not canceled the strike scheduled for Monday at 7am. A work stoppage in our 18 areas – especially a single day – requires complex and expensive preparation, forcing us to make plans that our teams, patients, and communities can trust. If the uncertainty of a strike continues this afternoon, we have informed the CNA today with the replacement staff hired that we will place our hospital staff on Monday. We hope the union will cancel this strike so that our nurses can work their usual shift on Monday and do what they do best: take care of our patients. We are ready to continue negotiating today, as long as negotiations to prevent the strike are progressing effectively. “
Sutter Health has hired “traveling nurses” to replace the striking nurses, and has kept them on all week, which means regular nurses can’t return until then, according to the striking nurses. Strike nurses will also receive weekly pay.
A spokesman for Sutter Health confirmed that replacement workers should be given a five-day guaranteed workforce and that “when the union threatens a strike we need to make plans that our patients, groups and communities can trust.”
In the Bay Area, nurses and staff are on strike in Burlingame, Castro Valley, Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Antioch and other centers in the region from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Hawthorne-Johnson said traveling nurses – or “travelers” – are not trained to perform certain procedures in hospitals, including ongoing kidney replacement therapy, which could have potential harm to patients during the strike.
“There are some procedures that passengers are not allowed to do because we don’t know their experience, we can’t verify them and we know yes, they know how to do this procedure,” he said.
Nurses also said there was a lack of PPE in medical centers during and after the rise in COVID cases in the region.
“We didn’t have the right equipment at the time of COVID,” Hawthorne-Johnson said. “We’ve been reusing N95 masks all along and now that COVID is over, we’re still running out of everything every day. They can’t guarantee we can always have the equipment.”
In recent months, COVID’s case rates and hospitalizations have remained low across the country, prompting Bay Area counties to lift orders for an internal mask. However, nurses say they are ready for any future pandemics or major cases.
“We’re seeing a lot of bad statistics for COVID in China right now, and we want to be ready if that’s the case. We want to be ready and protected,” Hawthorne-Johnson added.
“We want to make sure that our staff is protected and that the hospital system provides us with everything we need to be prepared and properly care for patients in the future,” Ragoobar said.
Times-Herald journalist Thomas Gase contributed to this article.
Thousands of Sutter nurses strike – Times-Herald Source link Thousands of Sutter nurses strike – Times-Herald