Hundreds of Sutter Delta healthcare workers to strike citing short staffing, unfair labor practices

Beginning early Monday morning; “We’re drowning. There’s just not enough staff…” – Sutter Delta ER technician; “We stand by our offer, and SEIU should too: they negotiated this contract” – Sutter Health spokesperson

ANTIOCH, Calif. – Citing massive understaffing, difficult working conditions, and a series of unfair labor practices, more than 350 healthcare workers at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch will strike next week. Workers will walk off the job and onto the strike picket line at 5 a.m. on Monday, October 4th.

Employees at Sutter Delta Medical Center say conditions are dire for caregivers and patients inside their facility as management ignores concerns about understaffing and working conditions. Workers are worried about patient and staff safety and say they’ve been pushed to the limit by their employer.

“We’re drowning. There’s just not enough staff,” said Jennifer Stone, an emergency room technician at Sutter Delta Medical Center. “We’re wearing too many hats – we’re talking down angry COVID patients, then we’re rushing to a code, then we’re talking to family members who just lost a loved one. We can’t give adequate care. We feel like management is ignoring our concerns and is leaving us to fend for ourselves. We can’t do it all anymore.”

Workers at Sutter Delta Medical Center say staffing shortages predate the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result of years of poor staffing and management decisions by Sutter, the hospital already didn’t meet adequate staffing for average patient levels. Frontline caregivers say COVID exacerbated this already strained infrastructure, and their employer’s response to the pandemic has only worsened the preexisting crisis.

WHAT:          Caregivers in their uniforms will walk off the job joined by their coworkers and supporters, including SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan. Later, caregivers in their uniforms and scrubs will form picket lines, hold signs, chant, and give speeches.

WHEN:          MONDAY, October 4     5 a.m. Walkout    11 a.m. Speaking program

WHERE:       Sutter Delta Medical Center, 3901 Lone Tree Way (main entrance), Antioch

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.

Sutter Health Responds

Sutter Delta Medical Center received a strike notice from SEIU in late September. In response a Sutter spokesperson issued the following statement.

“We received notice that SEIU intends to strike for five days at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch beginning October 4. We are disappointed union leaders have chosen to distract from patient care by taking this action, especially at a time when we should be focusing our attention on caring for our community.

The union has proved its disregard for our patients and communities by engaging in a strike while refusing to make a good faith effort to reach a deal. In fact, Sutter Delta negotiators twice offered to work with a neutral federal mediator and the union refused –twice. It’s a clear statement that the union is more interested in flexing its political power than reaching a fair agreement on behalf of its members.

We stand by our offer, and SEIU should too: they negotiated this contract, were confident enough to place it on a ballot, and it was recently approved by more than 3,000 employees at seven other SEIU-represented hospitals across our system.

We value our caregivers and their continued commitment to compassionate patient care in the face of an unprecedented health crisis, which is why our proposed contract guaranteed pay and benefits that are as good or better than others in the area:

o   13% salary increase over four years: 3% yearly salary increases each year for 3 years and a 4% increase in year 4

o   100% employer paid health coverage for employees and their families.

o   Funding to support access for our employees to education, credentialing and growth opportunities and creates a pipeline for new hires.

We will continue to focus on our patients, as always, despite the union’s strike. Regardless of the union’s actions, our commitment to providing our patients with high-quality, safe patient care remains unchanged.”

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