Hundreds of Sutter Hospital Workers in Antioch Set to Strike

NBC Bay Area

More than 350 health care workers at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch are set to walk off the job Monday, after they said Sutter canceled a planned mediation session.

Members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West said "massive understaffing, difficult working conditions and a series of unfair labor practices" prompted the vote to strike, in a statement released Sunday evening.

It's the second walkout at Sutter Delta in about a month. Workers walked the picket line on Oct. 4 over some of the same issues.

The union says staffing storages predate the pandemic, which made conditions even worse. Workers walking out Monday will include emergency room technicians, respiratory therapists, phlebotomists, transporters, and licensed vocational nurses.

The union produced a letter from local officials Reps. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Walnut Creek) and Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton), to Sutter Health CEO Sarah Krevans, dated Nov. 7.

"We understand that finding trained and qualified health care workers is a challenge right now, not just for Sutter Delta, but across the country," the representatives wrote. "It is our understanding that this hospital has not seen a significant drop in patients over the last few years, but dozens of workers have resigned their positions during this time and have not been replaced, which has greatly increased the workload on those who remain.

"For the health and safety of the people of Antioch and surrounding communities, this issue must be resolved."

A Sutter Health spokesperson said Sunday: "Our proposed contract guarantees pay and benefits that are as good or better than others in the area. The current offer includes 13% salary increase over four years (3% yearly salary increases each year for three years and a 4% increase in year four) and 100% employer paid health coverage for employees and their families."

The spokesperson said Sutter stands by the offer.

"The union should too; they negotiated the contract, were confident enough to place it on a ballot, and it was approved by more than 3,000 employees at seven other SEIU-represented hospitals across our system weeks ago. Yet, the union at Sutter Delta continues to be the one outlier, distracting from patient care instead of focusing on reaching a fair agreement on behalf of their members."

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