Union to Announce Hospital Strike Deadline By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday September 02, 2005

Officials of the union representing 8,000 workers at Sutter Health hospitals—including the Alta Bates Summit facilities in Berkeley and Oakland—are holding a press conference this morning (Friday) to announce a strike deadline. 

Failure to reach a settlement could result in what officials of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West say would be “the nation’s largest open-ended healthcare strike in two decades.” 

California Federation of Labor Executive Secretary Art Pulaski will speak at the conference, slated for 9:30 a.m. at the San Francisco Marriott. 

Also slated to appear are representatives of the SEIU, the California Nurses Association, and the Stationary Engineers, Teamsters, Professional Employees, UNITE-HERE and Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union. 

Carolyn Kemp, spokesperson for Summit Alta Bates, said that if and when the strike is called, “that would be unfortunate, but we will be taking care of the people who come to us. It’s the only reason we exist.” 

Union officials have been attempting to negotiate a contract with all 13 Sutter facilities, but corporate officials have argued that each division is separate entity. 

The California Nurses Association, which represents only registered nurses, signed an accord with Summit Alta Bates last month—though they had made the same argument.›