Mills-Peninsula Nurses Continue Fight Against Sutter

This is the fourth strike nurses at Mills-Peninsula have participated in during contract negotiations with Sutter Health.

Nurses at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame joined thousands of nurses at 10 Sutter Health hospitals Wednesday for a one-day strike, stemming from breakdowns in contract negotiations with Sutter.

According to the California Nurses Association, the concessions asked from Sutter would reduce nurses' sick leave, force nurses to pay more for health coverage and increase overtime.

This is the fourth time in seven months nurses have protested during bargaining with Sutter. They said nursing standards are at risk, which would ultimately hurt patients.

"We have to speak up and let them know what they’re doing is not right," said Mills-Peninsula nurse Christine Picard. “We’re asking them not to gut our contract and not take away our union.”    

However, Sutter spokeswoman Karen Garner said nurses are highly paid, earning an average of $136,000 per year, but union leaders "want double-digit wage increases and free health care for life, which will increase costs at our hospitals by tens of millions of dollars each year."

Garner said, "We will continue to offer competitive wages and benefits but will reject unreasonable demands that unnecessarily increase costs."

Representatives from Senator Leland Yee and Assemblyman Jerry Hill’s offices were at the Mills-Peninsula picket lines, along with nurses from Sutter Roseville, members of Occupy Redwood City and at least one Kasier nurse standing in solidarity.

Rallies were scheduled throughout the day at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, Alta Bates Summit in Oakland, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Novato Community Hospital, Sutter Delta in Antioch and Sutter Solano in Vallejo.    

Two rallies at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame occurred at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.      

Other affected hospitals include San Leandro Hospital and Sutter Lakeside.      

Although the nurses only plan to strike for 24 hours, Sutter has hired replacements for multiple days of work because most replacement nurses have contracts that require them to work for multiple days.    

Despite picket lines, Mills-Peninsula Chief Operating Officer Dolores Gomez said 41 percent of nurses crossed over Wednesday morning for the day shift.   

All services remained open at Mills-Peninsula.

--Bay City News contributed to this report.


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Sharon Tobin June 14, 2012 at 03:33 PM
CFO Dolores Gomez: 41% of nurses crossed for the morning shift. SURE they did... what a joke! More "magical math" from $utter Mills/Peninsula. Like the "double digit wage increases and free medical care for life" nurses supposedly demand, (we do not) and the mythical "average" salary of $136,000.00 a year. Sure would like to meet that average nurse. In August I celebrate 25 years at that institution and I have never made that much money. Not to say an RN is not worth it and we should never apologize for our compensation because we actually save lives for a living. Over 30 years of negotiations have brought us to decent compensation and benefits, but now in one contract $utter wants to take it all away. All the while $utter's profits have skyrocketed in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Why do they want to do this? So they can break the union and silence the only voice left to stand up for the patient: the Registered Nurse. $utter hates it when we call them on their lies and broadcast the services they have taken away from the community: Acute Rehabilitation Unit, Pediatrics Unit, selling Dialysis to a profit making conglomerate, selling the Skilled Nursing Facility and Mills Extended Care Facility, closing 1720 Laboratory next month, and at the end of this year, the closure of Mills Emergency Department. Now the only thing left of Mills/Peninsula is the name, which $utter plays up every day. "With you for life," Yeah, right.
Miriam Finder (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Thank you for adding this information, Sharon.
Sue Cannon June 14, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Sharon, thanks for pointing out the smarmy ways of Sutter's administrator trying to spin her way out of their disgraceful treatment of their nurses and patients. Thank you for fighting to keep health care available to those who need it. It is ludicrous that a health care company can make millions/billions of dollars in profit off of the sick and then turn around and cut services to patients needing care just because that service doesn't make the big bucks. Sutter needs to continue to be shamed for their greed. We as a community need to shun them. In times past corporations had to get chartered from the people/government and they had to renew their charter every so many years. They had to show that they were acting in the best interest of the community. It's time to force that issue again. Greedy, irresponsible companies like Sutter need to have their corporate charters revoked.
Frances Romero June 15, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I have never been so disappointed in this company I have worked at for 25 years. The truth is that we did not ask for healthcare for life. We asked that they leave the healthcare we currently have. We asked for a 2 percent wage increase. Competing bay area hospitals received 5 percent wage increases. How will we continue to attract nurses to come work there? The excuse they give to make so many cuts is that all companies are cutting back. The truth is that they have never made so much money as they have in the past few years. They are using the unfortunate economic situation with companies that are truly hurting to try and make even more "excess revenue", that's what they have to call it because they are a non profit company. To top it off, top administrative staff have given themselves astronomical wage and bonus increases. We never became nurses to become wealthy, but in order to work in the bay area, we need to afford to live here. I wonder if Sutter realizes the damage to their name. Whenever I mention that Mills-Peninsula is owned by Sutter, I get a very negative reaction. Good luck attracting new talent!


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