BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – If you have an appointment at Alta Bates in Berkeley or Oakland you should call ahead to see if you’re still good to go.

That’s because hundreds of nurses at both locations will walk off the job at 7 a.m. or in many cases won’t show up to work at all.

The nurses will be on a five-day strike. They claim that Alta Bates is not doing enough to address workplace violence, and are pointing to a high turnover rate as evidence the work environment needs improvement.

“We are seeing a mass exodus of nurses from the medical center due to the poor working conditions,” Mike Hill, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit, stated in a press release. “Sutter has a responsibility to ensure that nurses have what they need to provide the highest quality of care and have workplace violence prevention plans for each unit in place. I am seeing nurses leave the medical center for other nursing positions on a regular basis. We have nurses working overtime, and even double shifts day after day to keep the hospital running. Sutter must create working conditions to enhance patient care while also providing a safe work environment that retains nurses.”

The California Nurses Association did tell the hospitals they would strike, so this is not a sudden move.

This is often done to allow the hospitals to try to find replacement nurses.

Alta Bates states it’s disappointing the nurses are choosing to strike when the best place to be is at the bargaining table to try and work out a deal.

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A spokesperson for Sutter Health, gave KRON4 News the following statement:

“We are disappointed union leaders chose to disregard our patients by calling a five-day strike at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. We have held a number of bargaining sessions with the assistance of federal mediators, and while those sessions are confidential, we believe time spent at the bargaining table is the most efficient way to reach a fair and equitable agreement. ABSMC is an outlier — union negotiators at other sites have focused on bargaining and made substantially more progress. Regardless of the union’s actions, ABSMC’s commitment to providing the community with critical services and high-quality, safe patient care during a strike and into the future remains unchanged.”

Another spokesperson for the hospital sent KRON4 News a separate updated statement Monday:

“By moving forward with a costly and disruptive strike, local nurse union leadership has made it clear they are willing to put politics above patients and the nurses they represent – despite the intervention of federal mediators and our willingness to bargain in good faith while under threat of a strike.

We value our caregivers and their continued commitment to compassionate patient care, which is why our proposed contract guarantees great pay and benefits:

  • More than a 20% pay increase over 4 years in addition to any applicable step increases
  • Continued employer-paid health coverage for nurses and their families 
  • Comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans/measures that commits to protecting staff and patients 
  • Initiatives aimed at advancing equity and promoting diversity and inclusion in the ABSMC workforce 

Our attention remains on providing safe, high-quality care to the patients and communities we’re honored to serve, and we are confident in our ability to manage this disruption. We are hopeful the union shares our desire to reach an agreement and enable our nurses to turn their focus back to the patients the union has asked them to walk away from.”

The Oakland campus is at 350 Hawthorne Avenue. The Berkeley campuses are at 2450 Ashby Avenue and 2001 Dwight Way.