Quality Care Will Continue at Affected Hospitals
The facts for full-time nurses at Sutter Health’s Bay Area hospitals:
- $136,000 a year on average (determined from our nurses 2010 W2s and does not include benefits)
- An employer-paid pension plan worth $84,000 a year on average
- Up to 40 paid days off annually to use for vacation, sick time and other personal uses—about eight weeks off each year on average
The above lists just some of the generous wages and benefits Sutter Health hospitals offer to our valued nurses. Despite the six-figure salary average, an employer-paid retirement and other benefits, the California Nurses Union wants more and has called its fifth unnecessary strike at our hospitals.
Instead of collaborating with us to resolve these contracts for our nurses, union leaders have rejected virtually every modest contract proposal by our hospitals to make our quality services more efficient and affordable to patients. They demand new benefits that will increase the cost of health care for our patients by millions of dollars—including double-digit wage increases and free health care for life.
Our obligation is to take care of both our nurses and our patients. We remain committed to providing our nurses competitive wages and benefits, while also doing our part to make health care more affordable for our patients.
Sutter Health hospitals affected by the California Nurses Union strike confirm that a significant percentage of nurses don’t support the union’s strike and have come to work this morning, as scheduled, to care for patients.
The following crossover numbers were reported by Sutter Health hospitals for the morning shift:
- Sutter Delta Medical Center: 62%
- Sutter Lakeside Hospital: 57%
- Eden Medical Center (including San Leandro campus): 50%
- Mills-Peninsula Health Services: 42%
- Novato Community Hospital: 36%
- Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (including 51% crossover at Summit campus in Oakland): 35%
- Sutter Solano Medical Center: 29%
We greatly value our nurses. An RN who works full-time at a hospital with an open labor contract earns on average $136,000 a year plus receives generous health benefits and an employer-paid pension.
Sutter Health-affiliated hospitals with open contracts have negotiated in good faith with the California Nurses Union for nearly a year. Unfortunately, union leaders have called yet another strike. The same union has held more than 150 strikes in California in the last four years.
To preserve the same level of service our patients deserve and expect, these Bay Area hospitals have contracted with firms that provide qualified registered nurses to fill in for nurses on strike. Replacement agencies typically require our hospitals to pay contract nurses for multiple days of work even though the union has called a strike for just one day. Since we do not believe it makes financial sense to pay double for our striking nurses and contract nurses, these multi-day contract requirements usually mean that striking nurses miss several days of work.
A nurse who chooses to work full-time at a Sutter-affiliated hospital with an open CNA contract:
- Earns an average of $136,000 per year
- Can receive an employer-paid pension plan worth $84,000 per year on average for life
- Gets up to 40 days off per year
- And they have the option of 100% employer-paid health benefits/or low-cost health benefits
Despite the generous pay and benefits we provide our nurses, the California Nurses Union demands new benefits that will increase the cost of health care for our patients—including double-digit wage increases and free health care for life. These demands would increase costs at our hospitals by tens of millions of dollars.
We remain committed to bringing closure to these contracts for our valued nurses, while also doing our part to make health care more affordable for our patients.
Sutter Health Hospitals Pledge Continued Quality Care During Strike
The California Nurses Union today gave a 10-day notice of their intent to strike at Sutter Health hospitals with open labor contracts. The union strike begins May 1. This is the third strike the union has called against Sutter Health hospitals in the last seven months. This same union has called more than 100 strikes against California hospitals in the past four years.
“Sutter hospitals are committed to providing our nurses with competitive pay, high-quality benefits and a rewarding work environment,” said Sutter Health spokesperson Bill Gleeson.
Here are some facts:
- $136,000 — the average annual pay for a full-time RN at a Sutter Health hospital with an open CNA contract
- $105,000 — the average annual pay for RNs who choose to work part-time
- Most nurses have the option of choosing a health plan with zero-monthly premiums for themselves and their dependents
- $84,000 a year for life — what a 55 year old nurse who retires after 22 years of service will earn
- All nurses receive a form of employer-paid retiree health care benefits. Most receive a spending account valued up to $35,000 to help cover the cost of premiums, medications, etc.
- Nurses receive up to 40 paid days off a year to use for vacation, sick time and other personal uses.
Union Rejects Virtually Every Proposal Intended To Make Care More Affordable For Patients
Sutter Health hospitals have proposed modest contract changes to make our high quality services more affordable for our patients.
“The union has rejected virtually every proposal intended to make care more affordable for our patients,” said Gleeson. “Instead, union leaders have made many costly demands, including double-digit wage increases and free retiree health care for life, that would increase costs at our hospitals by tens of millions of dollars.”
Nurse Union Publicly States Its Goal Is To Call Repeated Strikes and Make It More Difficult & Costly For Sutter to Hire Replacement RNs
In a previously circulated public communications, CNA says its goal is to “make it more difficult and expensive for Sutter Health to recruit scab RNs on short notice….”
“It is disturbing to hear the union state that it is deliberately trying to make it more difficult and expensive for hospitals to hire qualified replacement RNs to meet the needs of our patients during a strike,” said Gleeson. “Our patients shouldn’t be used as pawns. We will continue to do whatever it takes to preserve services and provide the quality of care our patients expect.”
Nurses at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa (SMCSR) approved a new three year contract. The contract reflects SMCSR’s longstanding commitment to provide nurses with competitive wages commensurate with the local market, generous benefits and a respectful work environment—while also taking steps to make our services more affordable for patients.
It is always tough for patients and families to be in the hospital, but it’s especially difficult during the holidays. Unfortunately the California Nurses Union called for a strike that didn’t have to happen.
A nurse who works full-time at a Sutter Health hospital that has a contract with the California Nurses Union earns:
- An average of $136,000 per year
- An employer-paid pension plan worth $84,000 per year on average in retirement
- Up to 40 paid days off per year
- And most have an option of a 100% employer-paid health benefits package
Taking great care of patients starts with taking great care of nurses and employees. Our hospitals provide competitive pay and benefits, a respectful work environment and numerous opportunities for nurses to provide input into patient care decisions and advocate on behalf of patients.