Nurses on strike at 11 Bay Area hospitals

Alta Bates officials in Berkeley said about 57 percent of their nurses crossed the picket lines and went to work. This is the fourth nurses' strike in the past nine months. Neither side thinks the other is being reasonable and both sides are standing their ground.

"We're not asking for anything more than what we have earned over 60 years of collective bargaining. I believe that the experience and value that I bring as a nurse with 31 years is worth that," said Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Nurse Ann Gaebler.

"We are asking for real changes in their contract in terms of some benefit changes, there's no question about that. That is being done throughout the country with firefighters, policemen -- nurses aren't immune to that," said Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Dr. Steve O'Brien.

One concern when these strikes happen is what does this mean for the patients? Last September Judith Ming died at Alta Bates during a strike when a replacement nurse gave her the wrong medication. Hospital officials say the one bit of good news from these repeated strikes is the replacement nurses who are here today are no longer strangers to this area.

"Over 80 percent of the nurses who are here have been here before -- so they're familiar with our hospital, they are familiar with our systems and patients," said O'Brien.

"We have nurses who have volunteered to be on the patient protection task force. In the event that there is an emergency, we will go inside if we are needed in there," said Gaebler.

The two sides can't agree on a contract, yet both sides say they are sick of this dispute.

"We are frustrated with the union. We want them to sit down, we want to negotiate, we want to solve this," said O'Brien.

"I hope this is the last time you have to interview me. I hope that we can come back with a settlement," said Gaebler.

Sick pay and employee benefits are a key part to the dispute. Both sides are due back at the table on June 28.

Hospitals affected by the strike include:

  • Alta Bates Summit, Berkeley, 2450 Ashby, Berkeley
  • Alta Bates Summit, Herrick, 2001 Dwight, Berkeley
  • Alta Bates Summit, Oakland, 350 Hawthorne, Oakland
  • Eden Medical Center, 20103 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley
  • Mills Peninsula, Burlingame, 1501 Trousdale, Burlingame
  • Mills-Peninsula, San Mateo 100 So. San Mateo Drive, San Mateo
  • Novato Community Hospital, 180 Rowland Way, Novato
  • Petaluma Valley Hospital, 400 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma
  • San Leandro Hospital, 13855 E. 14th Street, San Leandro
  • Sutter Delta, Antioch, 3901 Lone Tree Way, Antioch
  • Sutter Solano, Vallejo, 300 Hospital Drive, Vallejo

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