SEIU Release: Caregivers Enter Day 3 of Strike At Three San Francisco Hospitals

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of caregivers continued to walk the picket line at three California Pacific Medical Center facilities, preparing to enter their third full day of the strike as Bay Area labor and community activists declared their support.

At City Hall, SEIU United Healthcare Workers - West President Sal Rosselli joined United Farm Workers officials in celebrating UFW's settlement with Gallo Wine in Sonoma County, ending a three-year-old boycott against Gallo. Rosselli spoke about the caregivers' fight against Sutter Health, CPMC's parent, and received pledges of support from UFW President Arturo Rodriguez and a further commitment of support from Teamsters Joint Council leader Chuck Mack.

At Sutter CPMC California campus, leaders of Senior Action Network, San Francisco Labor Council, ACORN, Building Trades Council, and Richmond Democratic Club joined strikers to pledge their support for a fair contract that gives caregivers a voice in staffing decisions, a training fund to prepare workers for patients' future needs, and protections for workers who speak up on behalf of patients. "Seniors know the importance of high quality care," declared Bruce Livingston of Senior Action Network. "And CPMC needs to elevate the quality of their care by agreeing to a high quality contract for the caregivers."

Speaking to rally supporters, Della Reed, a licensed vocational nurse of more than 27 years, told hundreds of strikers, "It's the end of Day 2 and we're getting stronger. Sutter CPMC said, 'Yes' two weeks ago and they'll say 'yes' again. I'd rather be in there taking care of my patients, but we're united to win this."

The strike, over unfair labor practices by Sutter Health, began Tuesday after a Federal Mediator offered a compromise settlement proposal that CPMC accepted, then backtracked. The caregivers struck when CPMC reneged on its offer to accept the settlement.

STRIKE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Thursday, Sept. 14 10:00 a.m. Strikers to leaflet neighborhood residents and merchants about Sutter CPMC forcing caregivers on strike disrupting the lives of patients and community residents at all hospital campuses. (see attached) 5:00 p.m. Picketline rally at Davis campus. Contact: Thea Lavin, +1-510-520-7732, for SEIU. Dear Neighbor,

As you may be well aware, the caregivers at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) have recently begun an "open ended" strike. Please allow us to explain.

For over a year now, caregivers represented by SEIU United Healthcare Workers - West have been negotiating in good faith with CPMC and various other hospitals affiliated with the Sutter Health Corporation. We have been seeking a contract that includes the same workforce standards adopted by Kaiser Permanente, Catholic Healthcare West, and every other major hospital system in Northern California.

Our proposals focus on ensuring the best possible health care for you and all of the patients we see. Among our proposals are the following:

-- Real Voice in Staffing Levels: Caregivers want to establish patient care committees comprised of equal numbers of managers and workers to set appropriate staffing levels. A neutral healthcare expert would settle disputes. -- Training and Education Fund: Caregivers want CPMC to contribute to a fund, jointly administered by management and union members, to provide training and advancement opportunities for caregivers. The fund is designed to ensure hospitals can meet the workforce demands of tomorrow. -- Caregivers' Right to Join a Union: Caregivers want to make sure that other hospital workers are given the right to join a union, if they choose, in an environment that is free from harassment and intimidation from managers.

After negotiations stalled, in an effort to avert a strike, an independent Federal Mediator was asked by both the Union and CPMC to craft a compromise that both sides could accept. The union accepted the mediator's compromise and, initially, so did CPMC. However, CPMC later reneged, giving caregivers no alternative but to strike.

We deeply regret the inconvenience this strike may cause in your daily lives. Unfortunately, unless CPMC stops disrespecting its caregivers, this strike will be long and difficult for us all.

We are hopeful that the people of San Francisco will help CPMC to settle a fair contract that puts patients, caregivers, and our community first.

Please help us put a speedy end to this strike by calling the Chief Operating Officer of CPMC, Grant Davies, at (415) 600-3790 and encouraging him to accept the Federal Mediator's compromise proposal. Once CPMC reaffirms the Mediator's proposal, we can end our strike and get back to doing the work we love.

Again, we sincerely regret the inconvenience this may cause you and your family.

In Unity,

The Dedicated Caregivers of California Pacific Medical Center

SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West

CONTACT: Thea Lavin, +1-510-520-7732, for SEIU

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