By MARTIN ESPINOZA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The nurses union at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has filed a notice of intent to launch a three-day strike at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
The notice, submitted to hospital administration Thursday afternoon, comes just one week before the contract between the Staff Nurses Association and Memorial Hospital expires on Sept. 30.
A hospital spokeswoman said negotiations between the nurses association and the hospital are ongoing and that the next round of talks is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 27.
The proposed strike would begin at 5 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 4 and end Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 5 a.m.
The union represents about 615 nurses at Memorial Hospital, 15 nurses at the hospital’s nearby ambulatory surgery center and 20 nurses at St. Joseph urgent care centers in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park, according to Sue Gadbois, president of nurses association.
St. Joseph Health System operates Memorial Hospital.
The nurses union contends that a number of “unresolved” issues remain, including: losses of eligibility for overtime; inadequate staffing to fulfill patients’ needs; the availability of nurses with specialized skills; proposed cuts in vacation and sick leave; cuts in pay for nurses on-call and a disagreement over health benefits for retired nurses.
In a statement Thursday, the hospital said it is committed to working in good faith with the nurses union during contract negotiations and that it hopes it can avoid a strike.
But the hospital said that it has stand-by nurses ready to do the work of striking nurses.
Gadbois said the 10-day notice is legally required before any strike takes place.
“What that does is preserve the ability of the nurses to strike if they want,” she said. “We are going to continue to negotiate right through the 30th. If we fail to reach an agreement, at some point soon after that, there would be a strike vote.”