Nurses union to strike at 2 East Bay health care facilities beginning Tuesday

The California Nurses Association (CNA) has announced that nurses will begin separate strikes next week at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward and at the John Muir Behavioral Health Center in Concord.   

Two hundred registered nurses (RNs) at St. Rose and 78 at John Muir will be striking, the union said.   

The strike is expected to last two days in Hayward starting Tuesday and one day starting Wednesday in Concord, according to a news release from the union, which alleges that management at both hospitals has refused to address their demands for fair contracts.   

"Management has made major changes to nurses and case managers' health benefits without our agreement," said Dianne Kubota, an RN at St. Rose Hospital, in a statement released by the union.   

"Changes to access and trusted providers can have negative outcomes that we cannot support. As nurses and case managers, we are part of the community and advocate for quality health care for all, including our own families," Kubota said.   

The union announcement follows strike authorization votes by Hayward nurses on April 5 and Concord nurses on April 13.   

A spokesperson for St. Rose Hospital said that the hospital has been bargaining in "good faith" for over 22 months and has been "ready, willing and able" to bargain with CNA the whole time.   

"Despite these efforts and proposals which include fair and reasonable across the board wage increases in addition to annual step increases, we have not yet reached agreement on the terms of a successor collective bargaining agreement with the CNA," said the spokesperson.     

Kubota said Thursday that the union has been bargaining with St. Rose since July 2021.   


"We were in bargaining last week and yesterday," she said. "However, St. Rose's proposals still do not provide what we need to retain and recruit registered nurses. Retention and recruitment of RNs is a key part of ensuring that St. Rose patients and nurses have appropriate staffing levels so we can provide the best care."   

St. Rose Hospital said it was aware that the nurses and case managers will be striking from Tuesday through Thursday morning and said it does not intend to hire replacement workers or lock out any RNs or case managers.   

"We expect the RNs and RN case managers to return to work at 7 a.m. on Thursday, May 4, 2023, and we will resume normal operations at that time," said the spokesperson.     

Nurses and case managers at the John Muir Behavioral Health Center (BHC) accuse the center's management of failing to uphold its "moral duty" to nurses, patients and the community.   

"Their understaffing is resulting in unsafe assignments, new nurses working without proper support or training, and experienced nurses regularly leaving for better benefits and conditions elsewhere," Amy Welsh-Ross, a nurse at the center, said in a statement released by the union.   

A spokesperson for John Muir said that its leaders have held 30 bargaining sessions with the union on a first contract, then made 38 successive, comprehensive contract proposals that "could, at any point, be voted on by BHC nurses if given the opportunity by CNA leaders."   

Karla Casas, an adult services behavioral health RN at the John Muir center, said Friday that "while we have reached agreement on certain issues, our core concerns have yet to be meaningfully addressed. When it comes to staffing, what we see is a pattern of decisions by management driven by financial reasoning rather than patient need."   


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BHC management said bargaining sessions are being held on Friday and next Thursday, and they will "come to the table" to negotiate regardless of the strike.     

Leaders at John Muir are proposing things during bargaining that do not meet the standards that both patients and the community deserve, Casas said.   John Muir disagrees with the union's assertions that there are unsafe nurse-to-patient assignments, the spokesperson said, stating that they are in full compliance with Title 22, state regulations that govern health facilities and hospitals.   

"California's Title 22 regulations are minimum standards," said Casas. "We believe that JMH has the resources to improve staffing so that our patients, who have acute psychiatric needs, can be properly taken care of."   

John Muir said it offers highly competitive wages, including bonuses, as well as lower-cost premiums for employee health insurance.   

"We believe that ratification of an initial contract, based on the current proposal, is the best way to keep experienced nurses, attract top nursing candidates and improve morale, which is another critical BHC priority," said the John Muir spokesperson.     

John Muir officials also said they will continue to care for their patients during the strike.