SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) – Hundreds of Santa Rosa Memorial caregivers are on strike Monday, trying to be as safe as possible as they fight for more affordable health care and accrued sick leave.

Involved in the strike are health care workers with all kinds of different job duties, such as testing people for coronavirus and operating ventilators to keep severely ill patients breathing.

They have been in contract negotiations with the hospital for over a year now, with those on strike saying the hospital cut the proposed wage increase by a third after announcing the strike.

Hospital workers say even though coronavirus numbers have been surging in Sonoma County the lats two weeks, they still don’t have enough PPE.

Some caregivers aren’t even provided an N95 mask while working and caring for coronavirus patients, they said.

So health care workers at Santa Rosa Memorial feel their lives are at risk – all while the hospital is offering a contract they say is unacceptable.

In response to these claims regarding access to PPE, hospital officials said in part:

Any claim to the contrary is simply not true. Throughout our response to COVID-19 we have made sure caregivers have had access to PPE, despite global shortages. This is the benefit of being a part of Providence St. Joseph Health, an organization made up of 51 hospitals in seven states. If needed, our hospitals can shift resources to a hospital in need.

It reduces paid time off, including sick leave.

Those on strike say it also increased health care costs by more than doubling the cost of premiums for the most popular family plan from $1,800 to $4,600.

Health care workers plan to be on strike until Friday, for several hours a day.

The hospital released the following statement to KRON4:

“We all want the same thing – the competitive pay and benefits package that will allow us to retain and attract the best talent to serve Sonoma County. It is our desire to reach an agreement with NUHW on the few remaining articles so our employees may receive the significant and immediate wage increases our current offer would provide.”

Tyler Hedden, Chief Executive

According to the hospital, outpatient imaging services will be closed. If you had an outpatient imaging appointment scheduled for this week, you should have received a call to reschedule.

You can read the hospital’s most recent bargaining update here.

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