Sutter Health nurses and health care workers go on strike
Staffing shortages and lack of Personal Protective Equipment stockpiles cause health care workers to rally
April 19, 2022
On April 18, Sutter Health nurses staged a one day strike in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.
Representatives from the California Nurses Association and the Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union authorized the nearly unanimous vote that occurred in March to proceed with a one day strike.
“We’re at the point where they’re not responding to our important proposals, and we need to put some pressure on our employer – so here we are,” said Intensive Care Unit Nurse Amy Erb.
The nurses have tried to negotiate a new contract since June 2021, but have felt that their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
“We have tried to bargain with the hospital, but the hospital has not been listening to our requests for more staff and safety,” said Nurse Heather Larkey, who has 15 years of experience.
Nurses said they insist that management needs to invest in safe staffing levels that take the patients into consideration. They want to be able to provide sage and therapeutic care for patients.
“We want nurses to have a say in their plans against workplace violence, more substantial input into these policies and practices in hospitals,” said Erb, who has been a nurse for Sutter Health for the past 20 years.
The nurses also want the hospitals to invest in personal protective equipment stockpiles and accuse Sutter of not complying with California’s Personal Protective Equipment stockpile law.
“All the problems really go back to safe staffing,” said Emergency Nurse Matthew Naldo.
Notice of the strike was given to Sutter Health in advance. Erb said it was so that the center could prepare for contracted replacement workers to care for patients during the strike.
“I’m just very proud of the support that my coworkers have shown –it’s what we do every day at the bedside that matters at the end of the day,” said Emilia Gara, a nurse of 27 years.