on-strike.jpgSome 23,000 registered nurses throughout much of the state are expected to rally during a one-day strike Thursday in a bid for RN rights.

California Nurses Association officials said nurses would hold a walkout at 34 Northern and Central California hospitals to protest a range of issues, including restrictions on nurses’ rights to speak out for patients and cuts in nurses’ and other hospital workers’ health care and retiree coverage.

The strike will affect the Bay Area’s biggest hospital chains, Sutter and Kaiser, plus Children’s Hospital Oakland.

Picketing is slated to begin at 7 a.m. Thursday and will continue throughout the day, with the largest turnout expected at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame.

Speaking on behalf of many striking nurses in a statement, Children’s Hospital RN Martha Kuhl said these hospitals “are taking advantage of the economic times and trying to roll back improvements we have won over many years.”

Meanwhile, Children’s Hospital officials called the strike “irresponsible and misguided” and pledged to keep the hospital open during the planned walkout by contracting with replacement nurses.

Many of the RNs set to take part in the strike are in the midst of ongoing contract negotiations with their employers, hospital officials said.

“The CNA leadership is out-of-touch with changes occurring throughout the country related to wages and healthcare benefits, and out of touch with the fact that Children’s (Hospital) is financially strained,” said Nancy Shibata, the hospital’s chief nursing officer, in a statement.

For a full list of the 34 hospitals where nurses plan to strike, head to http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/pages/860/.

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

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