Media Statement December 22, 2011
Alta Bates Summit Prepared for Nurses’ Strike
For assistance, members of the media are directed to our Summit Campus in Oakland:
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
350 Hawthorne Avenue
Phone contact: Main Hospital Number: 655-4000
Public Relations/Press Relations: 869-6762 or 869-8220
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Facts at a Glance:
Number of registered nurses: 1,900
Number of licensed beds: 1,094
Average Occupancy Rate: About 567 patients/day
Number of Replacement Workers: Approximately 500
Contract negotiations began: May of 2011
Original CNA Contract expired on June 30, 2011
A contract extension expired on July 30, 2011
Alta Bates Summit received a notice of intent to strike by the nurse’s union (CNA),
CHEU as well as a sympathy strike notice from Local 29 on Friday, December 9 for a
one-day strike to begin on December 22.
Alta Bates Summit last met with the California Nurses Association (CNA) on Monday
and Tuesday, December 19 and 20. We are still in negotiations. CNA has yet to even
present a wage proposal. The next bargaining session is scheduled Wednesday, January
We have great respect and value our nurses and the care they provide every day. They take
exceptional care of Alta Bates Summit patients and they’re part of the reason we are
recognized nationally for patient quality and safety. We know that providing the very best
care for our patients starts with taking good care of our nurses and other employees. For
example, a nurse who chooses to work full time:
Earns an average of $136,000 per year
Has the option of 100 per cent employer paid health benefits/or receives low-cost
All nurses receive a form of employer-paid retiree health care benefits. Most
receive a health care spending account valued up to $35,000.
An employer-paid pension plan worth $84,000 per year on average for life (age 65
with 22 years of experience).
Over the last three years, Alta Bates Summit RNs have received a 22 per cent salary
increase. Average workers in the Bay Area received a 4 per cent increase
We remain committed to providing our nurses competitive wages and benefits, while also
doing our part to make healthcare more affordable for our patients.
We want to assure our patients and our community that during the strike, Alta Bates
Summit is prepared to deliver high quality care as we have for more than a century.
The medical center is deeply disappointed that a strike could not be avoided – particularly
during the holiday season. We know only our sickest patients are in the hospital during
the holidays. It is difficult to be a hospital patient any time even more so during the
holidays. The medical center must do whatever is necessary to fulfill our responsibilities
to our patients and our community. We cannot stop providing care – not even for one
To that end, we will bring in skilled temporary replacement workers.
Alta Bates Summit’s temporary staffing agency requires a five day contract for
every temporary replacement RN.
Given the Holidays, the agency informed us that temporary RNs will return home
on Saturday, December 24 so they are home by Christmas Day. Temporary nurses
cannot replace our RNs before the strike, so we will use these replacement nurses
on Thursday and Friday, December 22 and 23 and they will head home on the
24th. In essence, we are forced to pay for the full five day replacement period even
though nurses will only be in service for two days.
All RNs who refuse to work the day of the strike will be welcomed back to work
as of 7 a.m. on December 24.
We are deeply disappointed in the union’s decision to call this strike – particularly at this
time of the year.
The temporary replacement nurses are highly skilled, come from around the country and
are specially trained to assist hospitals in need of quality nurses throughout the year. We
will continue to provide care to all of our patients. We will downsize or close units where
possible and reduce admissions and elective procedures as necessary. The hospital’s
census is historically lower during the holidays.
Alta Bates Summit has been negotiating in good faith for eight months. In fact, during a
two-week period in October, the medical center presented more than 14 modified
proposals in an attempt to negotiate and reach agreement. Unfortunately, CNA has not
even provided a wage offer, nor responded to our wage proposal.