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East Bay nurses strike

Nurses at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, a Sutter Health affiliate in Oakland, walked out at 7 a.m. on Nov. 1. They are protesting cuts to nurse benefits, services and wages. Though the union said the strike would only last a day, Sutter Health said it prepared for a five day walk out. (Annie O''Hare)
The march continues outside of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. Nurses and supporters carry signs reading “RN’s on STRIKE for PATIENT CARE.” Both the nurse’s union and Sutter Health claim to be supporting quality care for patients.

At 7 a.m. on Nov. 1, hundreds of registered nurses walked off the job at seven Sutter Health affiliated hospitals in the East Bay. This was the sixth California Nurses Association/National Nurses United strike since September 2011.

The nurses’ union and Sutter Health began contract negotiations in May 2011. The ongoing disputes are about wages, benefits and service cutbacks.

Although the union called the strike for just that day, the hospitals have reportedly hired replacement nurses on a five day contract and are planning to lock out striking nurses until Tuesday morning.

Both sides claim they are fighting for the benefit of their patients; Sutter argues  that cutbacks to nurses paid sick leave and benefits will keep costs affordable for patients while the nurses union maintains that those cuts will result in a breakdown of quality care.