Nurses Hold Christmas Eve Strike | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 28 December 2012 16:40


Nurses staged a one-day walkout at Eden Hospital on Monday.

Hundreds of nurses staged a one-day walkout at Eden Hospital on Monday. It was the first strike at the new facility, which opened less than a month ago.


The Christmas Eve action was called by the California Nurses Association to draw public attention to its lingering dispute with Sutter Health over contracts that expired in mid-2011.


The work stoppage affected nearly 5,000 registered nurses at nine of the company’s hospitals, including those in San Leandro, Oakland and Berkeley.


It was the eighth strike of the year against Sutter facilities as the union and the hospitals remain at odds over health benefits, sick days and cuts in staffing levels which, nurses say, affects patient safety.


For registered nurse Elena Ballocka, who has worked at Eden for 35 years, participating in the strike was something of a duty.


“I have worked hard all these years for good patient care and do not want to let the younger nursed down,” said Ballocka, one of just a handful of picketers on the lines late Monday morning.


Sutter nurses who work full-time earn, on average, $136,000 a year. They have 100 percent employer-paid health benefits, up to 40 paid days off a year and an $84,000 annual employer-paid pension for life, according to Sutter officials.


“Calling a strike on Christmas Eve shows complete disregard for patients and families dealing with hospitalization at an especially difficult time,” Sutter spokesman Bill Gleeson said in a news release.




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