SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — More than 8,000 registered nurses and healthcare workers at Sutter Health facilities plan to participate in a one-day strike on Monday.
Leaders with the California Nurses Association say they are calling for improved health and safety standards.
KRON4 spoke with a representative about why they feel striking is necessary.
“We often say that if nurses are outside, it means something is wrong inside,” said Amy Erb who is a registered nurse with the California Pacific Medical Center Intensive Care Unit.
Starting Monday at 7 a.m., thousands of Sutter nurses are planning to strike for 24 hours.
A Sutter Health spokesperson put out this statement:
“Work stoppages at 18 of our sites — even for a single day — require complex and costly preparation, and obligate us to make plans that our teams, patients and communities can rely on. Given the uncertainty of a looming strike, and in order to provide surety for our patients, communities and care teams, we will staff our hospitals on Monday with contracted replacement workers.”Sutter Health
“We want more than anything to be at the bedsides taking care of our patients,” Erb said. “That’s why we’re nurses. That’s what we want to do. But we need the resources in order to do so.”
Erb says the union has been in negotiations with Sutter Health since June 2021.
She says there’s been little to no movement on key issues — one of the big issues being nurses need more safe staffing procedures.
“We do the very best we can, but it’s so much better if you have a nurse that’s fed, rested — that’s not working back-to-back 16-hour shifts,” Erb said.
She says they need more resource nurses to help out during emergencies and switch out, so nurses can take breaks. Erb adds the nurses hope a day without them will make Sutter Health realize their value.
However, this nursing shortage is a nationwide issue. Last week, Stanford nurses union gave notice that they plan to strike on Monday, April 25.
“The hospitals have not even acknowledged that we have staffing issues at the hospital,” said Kathy Stromberg who is a registered radiology nurse within the Stanford system
Stromberg says Stanford has responded by telling the nurses if they strike, they will cancel their medical benefits.
“They are going to cut off all of our benefits so even if we do get to a quick agreement and come back to work within even days none of us will have medical benefits for the month of May,” she said.
Stromberg says the Stanford nurses stand with and support the Sutter nurses as they strike.