RNs and their Families to Protest Sutter Black-tie Grand Opening Gala at Eden Medical Center Saturday

Nurses to trade scrubs for semi-formal attire to highlight profitable corporation’s misplaced priorities

CALIFORNIA–(ENEWSPF)–September 20, 2012.  RNs from Sutter Health hospitals around the Bay Area will be holding a colorful event Saturday evening to protest a gala black-tie event organized by Sutter for the soon-to-be-opened new facility at the Castro Valley campus, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced today. Sutter, who has made over four billion in profit since 2007, has billed its event a fundraiser for the new Eden Medical Center building.

The counter event is being organized to protest the massive contract takeaways and Sutter’s closure and threatened closure of units and hospitals throughout northern California, including San Leandro Hospital.

“While Sutter executives of all ranks and their corporate sponsors hold a gala to celebrate a building, we will be outside celebrating the patients, community, and dedicated nurses,”  said Malinda Markowitz, RN, and a CNA/NNU co-president. “Sutter’s attack on nurses’ patient advocacy rights and its closure of needed services in our communities will definitely be on our menu.”

What:         Nurses’ Semi-Formal Protest of Sutter’s Misplaced Priorities
When:        September 22, 5:00 p.m.—8:00 p.m.
Where:       Eden Medical Center
                  20103 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley, 94546

“Sutter Health is celebrating a new building, but its nurses have been without a contract for more than a year and our communities are facing loss of services due to their cuts,” said Elena Ballock an RN who has worked in the emergency department at Eden for 35 years.  “We have already lost our psychiatric unit and our rehab unit, and our critical care nursery will soon be closing as well. Sutter is an extremely profitable corporation, so why does it continue to cut essential services and take benefits away from the nurses and their families who depend on them?”

 “As Sutter executives celebrate the opening of a new building in Castro Valley, the residents of San Leandro are facing the closure of their hospital, which the nurses and the community have been actively fighting against for more than four years,” said Lisa Lafave,  a recovery room RN who has worked at San Leandro Hospital for 21 years. “Cuts in services and hospital closures are the Sutter business model and they hurt our communities.”

CNA/NNU has led the fight against Sutter Health’s plan to close San Leandro Hospital, which violated a pledge made in 2004 when the corporation took over management of the facility that it would maintain hospital care in San Leandro for 20 years. Of 27,000 patients seen in the San Leandro emergency room last year, more than 60 percent came from East Oakland. San Leandro is the latest in a long line of services Sutter is slashing, despite amassing over $4 billion in profits since 2007, and handing its chief executive Pat Fry a 215 percent pay hike to over $4 million a year.
The 4,500 Sutter RNs embroiled in a protracted contract fight with Sutter corporation include: Mills-Peninsula Health Services hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo, Sutter Delta in Antioch, Sutter Solano in Vallejo, Novato Community Hospital,  Eden, San Leandro, and the Alta Bates Summit facilities in Berkeley and Oakland.  
Among the many concession demands at various Sutter hospitals:

  • Eliminating paid sick leave, effectively forcing nurses to work when ill, exposing already frail and vulnerable patients to further infection.
  • Forcing RNs to work in hospital areas for which they do not have appropriate clinical expertise, again a safety risk for patients.
  • Huge increases in nurses’ out-of-pocket costs for health coverage for themselves and family members.
  • Eliminating all health coverage for nurses who work less than 30 hours per week.                      
  • Limits on the ability of charge nurses, who make clinical assignments for nurses, to address staffing shortages, subjecting patients to the danger of unsafe staffing.
  • Reduced pregnancy and family medical leave, undermining RN families.
  • Forcing RNs to work overtime, exposing patients to care from fatigued nurses who are more prone to making medical errors.
  • Eliminating retiree health plans.  

Source:  http://www.nationalnursesunited.org