Striking nurses back on the job

Striking nurses who were locked out of hospitals throughout the weekend due to guarantees made to replacement teams have started work again this morning, according to a California Nurses Association spokesman.

Replacement nursing teams worked through this morning at Sutter Solano Hospital in Vallejo and at the Berkeley and Oakland campuses of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

Alta Bates Summit spokeswoman Carolyn Kemps said that in order to get the 500 replacement nurses they needed for the scheduled two-day strike, they had to sign a contract guaranteeing the replacement staff five days worth of work.

CNA representatives are now trying to assess what went on in the 15 hospitals involved in the strike, CAN spokesman Charles Idelson said.

Idelson said that representatives from the association are concerned about the expertise of the strike-breaking nurses, and they feel “that Sutter violated state laws by not validating the clinical competency of replacements.''

However, California Pacific Medical Center spokesman Kevin McCormack said that they had no problems with their replacement nurses, who covered the San Francisco hospital Wednesday and Thursday.

“Everything went well with our replacements and the transition back to our regular nurses went very well Friday morning,'' McCormack said. McCormack also added that California Pacific is trying to sit down and talk with CNA about resolving the issues in their nurses' contracts.

“We are willing to sit down and talk with the union, we contacted them before the strike and we are still waiting to hear back,'' McCormack said.

He added that California Pacific is keen to get discussions rolling because they would like to avoid any further strikes.

Some 5,000 registered nurses at 15 hospitals in Northern California went on strike from Wednesday at 7 a.m. through Friday at 7 a.m. to protest patient care issued as well as health insurance benefits. The strike lasted two days and impacted 13 hospitals operated by the Sutter Health chain as well as two hospitals operated by the Fremont-Rideout Health Group in Yuba City and Marysville.

The Sutter hospitals affected were Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, with facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Mills-Peninsula Health Services in Burlingame and San Mateo, San Leandro Hospital, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, and Sutter Delta in Antioch.

Also affected were Sutter Solano in Vallejo, California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke's hospitals in San Francisco, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae and Sutter

Novato.

— Bay City News

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