Friday, December 14, 2007

Nurses rally for a contract and to save their hospital

The Mission District community was out in force at St. Luke's Hospital this afternoon. Sutter Health -- doing business locally as California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) -- has refused since last spring to negotiate a contract with their nurses who are represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA). So for the last two days nurses have struck and picketed the hospital chain's 13 local facilities.

Nurse Jane Sandoval leads chants. The St. Luke's nurses face an even greater theat than most of Sutter's employees: Sutter wants to shut the community hospital down altogether, shifting all of its facilities north of Market Street to the whiter, more affluent side of San Francisco.

A spirited group of nurses and community members said a loud "no" to these plans today.

Connie Ford from the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) and the San Francisco Labor Council brought greetings. Neighborhood leaders and politicians were out in force.

Eric Quesada, executive director of Dolores Street Community Services and a candidate for District 9 supervisor, is a long time Mission activist.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, embroiled in a primary run against incumbent State Senator Carol Migden, is making the rounds of events like this. Good for him. Let these candidates compete at supporting their constituents who need this hospital, the only place besides County General that treats uninsured San Franciscans.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi made a rousing speech.

Several speakers reminded listeners that Sutter hopes, and expects, that if they talk nice for a few months and chip away at services at St. Luke's, we'll forget our outrage and go away. Sutter has got this wrong -- the neighborhood needs St. Luke's and will fight long and hard to keep it open.

The struggle to keep the hospital open lives online at Save St. Lukes. Check in there often.

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