Alameda Hospital Nurses Walk Out

Dennis Evanosky    Alameda Hospital nurses marched for fair labor practices last Friday, Sept. 20.

Registered nurses at Alameda and two other East Bay hospitals held an Unfair Labor Practice strike that saw nurses at the hospitals walk out for 24 hours starting Sept. 20 in accordance with the California Nurses Association (CNA). CNA filed multiple charges with the California Public Employee Relations Board against the hospitals for violating state law by failing to bargain in good faith. 

According to CNA, after many months of negotiations, the hospitals’ management continues to violate the law. “They are proposing wholesale elimination of longtime contract provisions, some of which have been in place for more than 40 years,” stated a CNA press release. “[They are] instituting unilateral changes without bargaining with the union, and changing the hiring practices of new hires, among other changes.

The association also asserts nurses have repeatedly expressed their concerns at the bargaining table and directly to the Alameda Health System (AHS) Board of Trustees about the approach AHS is taking, but management refuses to bargain in good faith. 

The nurses’ contract expired in December 2018.

“As nurses who work for a public hospital, we know too well the severe circumstances under which our patients come to the hospital to receive care,” said Linda Strack, RN at Alameda Hospital. “The attacks being employed by AHS on nurses, patients and the community will forever have damaging impacts. AHS is being unfair to nurses and patients and that is why I believe it is important for us to take a stand as nurses and support the strike.”

AHS has responded indicating negotiations are ongoing. 

“Alameda Hospital and CNA are continuing negotiations to secure a new collective-bargaining agreement for the Alameda Hospital registered nurses, who are critical to delivering quality care and are the primary caregivers for those needing our services,” stated AHS on its website. “We are committed to reaching an agreement that recognizes and rewards their contribution and enables us to sustain essential services to the community we serve.”

The website also explains that the management has made overtures in an effort to come to an agreement.

“Alameda Hospital has presented a number of proposals since bargaining began at the end of 2018,” AHS stated. “While we have reached agreement on a few items, a critical mass of these proposals is still awaiting formal action from the union.”

CNA represents nearly 400 nurses at the hospitals. 

This walkout was not associated with a seperate, similar walkout of 6,500 nurses in four states including California. That strike brought attention to declining patient care under current conditions that place too many patients under one nurse’s care.