Calif nurses strike over contract talks

By the Associated Press | December 22, 2011 | 12:30 PM EST

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nurses at eight Sutter Health hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area are on strike over stalled contract negotiations.

The California Nurses Association — the union behind Thursday's one-day walkout — expects 4,000 nurses to participate.

The nurses' contract with Sutter expired about six months ago. Union officials have objected to changes in paid sick leave and healthcare coverage proposed by Sutter and demanded they be withdrawn.

Sutter Health says it has brought in replacement nurses. At least one of the affected hospitals — Alta Bates Summit Medical Center — has said it will lockout nurses who strike until Dec. 24.

An additional 2,000 nurses at two hospitals in Long Beach also are expected to strike.

Those hospitals are not part of the Sutter network, but the California Nurses Association says nurses there are involved in a similar contract dispute.