Strike forces hospital slowdown

The county-run San Mateo Medical Center has canceled patient appointments, diverted ambulances to surrounding hospitals and refused new patients Monday, in preparation for a two-day nurses strike scheduled to begin Wednesday morning.

Dozens of patients were immediately affected Monday, with that number expected to increase as the strike continues through Friday at 7 a.m., officials said.

The medical center plans to bring in 50 temporary nurses to care for patients during the strike, spokesman Dave Hook said.

By closing to new patients prior to the strike, the San Mateo Medical Center hopes to thin the number of patients needing care prior to the walkout, Hook said.

“This is the best way to provide safe patient care knowing that we can't continue to see everyone we otherwise would,” he added.

Nurses and the county are at an impasse on salary and benefits, including proposals by the county to shift more health benefits costs to nurses, limit the amount of overtime pay, and increase salaries for difficult-to-recruit positions above those of other nurses, assistant personnel director Tim Sullivan said.

The California Nurses Association has demanded an across-the-board raise for all nurses, which county officials claim will cost $29 million over three years. The CNA says the county is attempting to weaken the union and treat nurses unfairly by offering varying raises to different types of nurses.

Low salaries and diminishing benefits — compared to other Peninsula hospitals — has led to high turnover rates and large numbers of temporary staff, among county nurses, according to Joanne Jung, negotiator for the union. The county maintains that nurses' salaries and turnover rates are comparable with surrounding counties.

If a last-minute deal isn't reached, the nurse's strike will be the first in the county's history and involve about 380 county nurses. All told, it has the potential to affect thousands of patients, Hook said.

Board of Supervisors President Jerry Hill called the closure a “tragedy,” saying the county and nurses' union continued meeting with a state mediator Friday and Monday looking for a way to resolve their differences. “I'm hoping that the public does not unduly suffer because of this,” Hill said.

ecarpenter@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

A Bay Area Concrete Recycling facility that opened on PG&E property in 2019. Former PG&E employees have been accused of accepting bribes from Bay Area Concrete. (Courtesy of Bay Area Concrete Recycling via ProPublica)
Lawsuit reveals new allegations against PG&E contractor accused of fraud

By Scott Morris Bay City News Foundation Utility giant Pacific Gas &… Continue reading

Most Read