protest-crap.jpgHundreds of nurses at Children’s Hospital Oakland will begin a three-day strike Tuesday, though hospital operations are expected to continue.

The California Nurses Association, which represents most nurses at the hospital, has been without a contract since July. The union says hospital management is proposing to cut health care benefits.

About 780 nurses at the hospital will go on strike Tuesday morning, according to the union. Nurses will begin walking a picket line outside the hospital at 6:30 a.m.

Hospital spokeswoman Erin Goldsmith said the hospital is bringing in about 125 extra staff to help cover their shifts.

“We have highly skilled replacement nurses who are coming in,” Goldsmith said. She said all hospital departments, including the trauma center and emergency department, would remain open.

The replacement nurses are part of a contingent of hospital workers from other states who are brought in to assist when regular staff are out sick, on vacation, or on strike, she said.

The union contends that its nurses are facing rollbacks in their health care benefits that would make it difficult for them and their families to afford coverage.

The hospital maintains the cost of coverage is rising.

“Health care costs have been going up everywhere,” Goldsmith said.

Both sides remain confident they will get back to the negotiating table.

“We hope to get this resolved as soon as possible,” Goldsmith said. “We don’t want to have any impact on our patient care.”

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