FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 7, 2021
ANTIOCH, Calif. – After Sutter Health refused to bargain in good faith and canceled mediation, more than 350 healthcare workers at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch will strike for a second time starting Monday, November 8th. Workers at Sutter Delta Medical Center say massive understaffing, difficult working conditions, and a series of unfair labor practices prompted the vote to strike for a second time.
On November 7, after management at Sutter Delta canceled the bargaining session which had been scheduled with federal mediation, U.S. Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Jerry McNerney sent a letter to Sutter Health CEO Sarah Krevans, urging the healthcare company to reach an agreement with workers in writing on unsafe staffing.
“We understand that finding trained and qualified health care workers is a challenge right now, not just for Sutter Delta, but across the country,” wrote U.S. Reps. DeSaulnier and McNerney. “It is our understanding that this hospital has not seen a significant drop in patients over the last few years, but dozens of workers have resigned their positions during this time and have not been replaced, which has greatly increased the workload on those who remain. For the health and safety of the people of Antioch and surrounding communities, this issue must be resolved.”
The letter is available to view here.
Employees at Sutter Delta Medical Center say conditions are dire for caregivers and patients inside their facility as management ignores concerns about understaffing and working conditions. Workers are worried about patient and staff safety and say they’ve been pushed to the limit by their employer.
“We voted to strike because we want to put a stop to Sutter’s unfair labor practices and because we care about patient safety, and we want safe staffing levels. We are exhausted and overwhelmed, and we feel like Sutter management is ignoring our concerns,” said Stefanye Sartain, a respiratory therapist at Sutter Delta Medical Center. “Our hospital has multiple job openings that haven’t been posted because management feels they don’t need the positions filled. But we are so short-staffed, it’s hard to provide adequate care. Sutter is eroding the staff and it’s not safe for patients or workers.”
Workers at Sutter Delta Medical Center say staffing shortages predate the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result of years of poor staffing and management decisions by Sutter, the hospital already didn’t meet adequate staffing for average patient levels. Frontline caregivers say COVID exacerbated this already strained infrastructure, and their employer’s response to the pandemic has only worsened the preexisting crisis.
The strike consists of a variety of job classes at the hospital in Antioch, including emergency room technicians, respiratory therapists, phlebotomists, transporters, and licensed vocational nurses.
Media Contact: Renée Saldaña, firstname.lastname@example.org
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers.