East Bay Nurses Strike After Months Of Contract Negotiations

Union Says Hospitals Won't Bargain In Good Faith

Matt Bigler
September 20, 2019 - 12:43 pm
Alameda and San Leandro hospital nurses strike after 10 months of negotiations

Matt Bigler/KCBS

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ALAMEDA COUNTY, CA (KCBS Radio) – Dozens of nurses walked off the job Friday for a 24 hour strike at two hospitals in Alameda County.

Cries of “When patient care is under attack, what do we do? We fight back!” filled the air as nurses picketed outside of San Leandro Hospital. They were joined by nurses from Alameda Hospital. Both facilities are run by the Alameda Health System.

“I’m striking for the safety of my patients and the safety of my coworkers,” said ER nurse Mawata Kamara, who says management laid off nurses three times during flu season, leaving the hospital dangerously understaffed. “We were overworked, we were burned out, and to add insult to injury they’re still laying people off or moving them around in different departments. So as you can imagine, it started to lead to people coming into the emergency room and leaving.”

The California Nurses Association, which represents almost 400 nurses at both hospitals, has filed charges against both hospitals alleging management has failed to bargain in good faith. The union says the hospitals “are proposing wholesale elimination of longtime contract provisions, some of which have been in place for more than 40 years, instituting unilateral changes without bargaining with the union, and changing the hiring practices of new hires, among other changes.”

The nurses’ contract expired in Dec. 2018 and negotiations have been ongoing for 10 months.

The Alameda Health System says in a statement it is committed to the care and safety of patients and is taking all appropriate steps to minimize the effect of the strike on patient care. Striking nurses have been temporarily replaced with travel nurses.

The strike is scheduled to end at 7 a.m. on Saturday.