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Sutter Health nurses who participated in the strike not allowed to return to work for 5 days

On Monday, thousands of Sutter Health nurses and healthcare workers participated in a one-day strike at 15 facilities across Northern California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sutter Health nurses and healthcare workers who participated in Monday's strike are not allowed to return to work until Saturday, April 23.

On Monday, thousands of Sutter Health nurses and healthcare workers participated in a strike at 15 facilities across Northern California. The one-day strike was over staffing and pandemic-related protocols, according to the California Nurses Association[CNA].

The CNA also wants Sutter Health to have pandemic readiness protection by investing in personal protective equipment stockpiles. According to a CNA spokesperson, nurses and healthcare workers have been in negotiations with Sutter Health since June 2021.

Terah Baker, who is a Registered Nurse in the Trauma/Neuro ICU at Sutter Health Roseville, said nurses and healthcare workers were sent an email from Sutter Health prior to the strike, stating any nurse or employee who participated in the strike would not be allowed to return to work until Saturday.

"On April 13, I received an email from our CEO, Brian Alexander, saying in essence that if we went ahead with the strike, then we would not be able to return to work until 7 a.m. on Saturday, April 23," Baker said. "However, Alexander said that if we called off the strike, we could return to work within 24-48 hours." 

During the five days they are not allowed to return to work, Sutter Health nurses and healthcare workers are not being paid.

"During this time, we cannot use any paid time off, vacation time, education time, or anything like that," Baker said.

In a statement sent to ABC10, a spokesperson from Sutter Health confirmed union members and the employees who chose to strike were made aware of this policy prior to striking. 

"When the union threatens a strike we must make plans that our patients, teams and communities can rely on," a Sutter Health spokesperson said. "Part of that planning is securing staff to replace nurses who have chosen to strike, and those replacement contracts provide the assurance of five days of guaranteed staffing amid the uncertainty of a widespread work stoppage."

The Sutter Health spokesperson said this policy is standard protocol for Sutter Health.

"This is really disheartening to us as nurses because striking is an absolute last resort for us," Baker said. "It was not our choice to not return to work; we want to be there taking care of our patients."

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