Registered nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, or ABSMC, in Oakland and Berkeley recently issued a notice to Sutter Health announcing they would be striking from Oct. 24 to Oct. 28 because of “persistent patient care issues,” according to an Oct. 18 press release from the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United.
The press release stated that nurses plan to strike in response to workplace violence and high turnover rates of nursing staff, resulting from worsening hospital conditions.
“It is the responsibility of management to ensure that both patients and health care workers are safe in their facilities,” said Mike Hill, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit, in the CNA/NNU press release.
In August 2021, Cal/OSHA fined Sutter Health in part for not having a satisfactory workplace violence prevention plan, said the press release. Health care employers are required by a California law passed in 2017 to prevent workplace violence prevention to identify risk factors and create methods to deal with workplace violence incidents.
Newly graduated nurses often leave ABSMC after gaining two years of experience, according to registered nurse Ann Gaebler, who was quoted in the press release.
“It is crucial for our patients that we retain these young nurses and our experienced nurses,” Gaebler said in the press release.
Sutter Health and union leaders have participated in several confidential bargaining sessions, which have made progress at other Sutter Health medical sites, according to a statement from Sutter Health.
However, the registered nurses at ABSMC still plan to strike.
“We are disappointed union leaders chose to disregard our patients by calling a five-day strike,” Sutter Health’s statement said. “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.”