Almost 5,000 NorCal Nurses Set for 2-Day Strike

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Yuba City’s Fremont Medical Center and Rideout Memorial Hospital in nearby Marysville combine to serve a couple hundred patients at a time.  The Fremont-Rideout Health Group owns both facilities.
About 500 RNs voted to join the California Nurses Association last year, and their first contract talks since then have stalled.
A short, one-day strike at the end of August led to a federal mediator getting involved.  But negotiations fell through, and now the RNs are picketing again – on the same days some 4,000 other nurses are going on strike.
That’s not a coincidence, of course.  The union hopes to make it harder – and more expensive – for the hospitals to find replacement nurses.
But a Fremont-Rideout official says the replacements are ready – and patients can expect business as usual.

The Dispute

The R-Ns at the 13 Sutter Health hospitals in the greater Bay Area include those working at Vallejo’s Sutter Solano and Sutter Delta in Antioch.  All of the striking R-Ns belong to the California Nurses Association.
Nurse Jan Rodolfo is one of the negotiators.  She says the hospitals simply don’t hire enough staff. 
“You work a 12-hour shift; you often don’t literally take a break for those 12 hours.  You maybe eat standing up at the desk.  But there’s no registered nurse for you to pass your patients off to so that you can walk away for half an hour.” 
But spokeswoman Kim Trumbull with Sutter Solano says her hospital follows California nurse staffing ratios and have proposed relief grids for nurses at the negotiating table.