Sutter Health nurses striking outside Alta Bates hospital on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley on Tuesday Nov. 20. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Nurses at Alta Bates Summit Hospital on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley went out on strike today and will do so again tomorrow, the seventh walk-out since September 2011. The nurses are protesting what they term “employer demands for sweeping cuts in nurses’ and patient care standards.”

The strike is by 3,300 registered nursess and several hundred respiratory, X-ray and other technicians who work at eight Sutter corporation hospitals – Alta Bates Medical Center facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, San Leandro Hospital, Sutter Solano in Vallejo, Sutter Delta in Antioch, and Novato Community Hospital.

In a statement published online, the nurses explained why they were striking: “This is the latest protest over demands by Sutter corporate officials for sweeping reductions in patient care protections and nurses’ contract standards – despite Sutter being one of the wealthiest hospital chains in the U.S,” they wrote.

Sutter Health said it was unfortunate that the union has chosen to strike during this time. “Instead of collaborating with Sutter Health hospitals to reach contract agreements, the California Nurses Union has called for another strike,” it wrote on its website. “While it is always tough for patients and families to be in the hospital, it’s especially difficult during the holidays.” Sutter maintains it is providing nurses with competitive wages and benefits.

Nurses at Alta Bates last walked out on July 3. As with previous strikes, Sutter is expected to bring in temporary staff to cover for the staff shortages.

Alta Bates nurses go on strike, part of Sutter-wide protest [07.03.12]
Sutter Health nurses strike at Alta Bates, 10 other hospitals [06.13.12]
On May Day nurses and Cal employees take to streets [05.01.12]
Nurses’ strike draws cheers and honking horns [09.22.11]

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...