Area nurses to strike again on Thursday, Friday

The lengthy battle over contract negotiations is going nowhere and has no end in sight, representatives of nearly 5,000 nurses at 13 Bay Area hospitals and their employers said.

The nurses will be hitting the picket lines Thursday and Friday, the second two-day strike in two months for the nurses, who are represented by the California Nurses Association. The strike comes after more fruitless contract talks with the nurses’ individual Sutter Health facilities.

The nurses’ demands include enhanced nurse-to-patient ratios, lift teams for handling large patients and rapid response team support at all Sutter hospitals. They are also seeking better benefits, but not increased pay.

Administrators at Mills-Peninsula Health Services in Burlingame andSan Mateo say they will not budge from their final offer to the nurses. The nurses, meanwhile, say they have no interest in accepting that offer. Both sides said no future talks are in sight.

California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke’s in San Francisco had lengthier talks with its nurses since the last strike in October, but still came away without a contract.

All four facilities will be fully staffed with replacement nurses. Mills was forced to sign replacements to a five-day contract, forcing its regular nurses out of work until Tuesday.

As a result, the strike is definite — and based on comments from both nurses and hospital administrators, the work stoppage will likely not be a magic bullet toward solving the dispute that has been raging since the nurses’ contracts expired in June.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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