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If they know what's good for them.

emily stone

well, i have been on the picket line 5 days a week since the strike against the sutter corporation. it has been quite an experience for me as i have never been in a long time strike before in my life, and this one looks like it may take awhile. the first few days were difficult for many reasons, but mostly it was like getting used to a new job. only it was a new job i didnt want. now, for a living, i walk the picket lines at least 7 hours per day and at least 5 days a week. the first couple of days my body rebelled and i was sore all over... sort of like when my brother used to come home from his first few days of football practice after a long summer of fun. my mind also had to get adjusted to not caring for the patients that i have been working with on and off for many years. i have been a psychiatric technician for many years... since the mid 70's. In those years, i have never seen anything like this. we have been without a contract for more than a year. during that time sutter corp and the union had been working with a federal mediator to come up with a solution that would prevent a work stoppage and let us get back to our jobs. well, the good news is that the federal mediator came up with proposal that was fair to both parties (isnt that what a mediator is supposed to do) ... the bad news is that the sutter corporation/ cpmc hospital refused to sign it. the union agreed to sign but the hospital/sutter corp didnt. what can you say about that???
i was talking to someone i met on the line yesterday and he told me that he was a cna, on 5 south, I think he said. he told me that he had between 16 and 18 patients every day... and that is to bathe, feed, assist up and down etc, etc etc. that is an unsafe and unreasonable work load in my opinion. but, day in and day out that is what is going on, for the patients and for the staff who work there. that was pretty astounding to me.
as well as meeting other coworkers and finding about what their experience of work has been, I have also met some people who have been involved in care with sutter hospital. yesterday i met a woman who had dialysis 3 times a week. she asked what the strike was about and agreed to sign out patetion. i was touched by her support in the midst of her own troubles. I also met a woman who asked what the strike was about. she told me that her daughter had haed a transplant in the past and how important good care was and said that it wasnt just the medical care but all the care..."you learn how important a clean bathroom is when you are so sick" . well I am off to the picket line now and as i write this I wonder what experiences today will bring. many, I am sure.
mainly I am hoping to hear that I can go back to work and things will be back to normal...well better than normal... with better staffing and better working conditions
see ya later


Day 10:

The picket line has been lively. We had a special guest today. One of the strikers brought her 10 year old son.

He had already been to one of our rallies and had his picture on a flyer. He collected several copies to show his classmates his new found celebrity.

His Mom is an aide and is trying to go back to school to be an RN. The 2 jobs (Mother and Nusing Aide) make it difficult to take classes every semester. The education Fund and competitve wages would help.

The nursing shortage is really a floor nurse shortage. The middle class nurses all want to become Case Managers and Unit Nurses with 1 or 2 patients. The jobs are important, but do not resolve the nursing shortage.

CNAs (aides) actually would like to be floor nurses but can not afford to leave work and go to school full time. City College has a "lottery system" for admission. How many people do you know who have won the lottery?

Why is the hospital missing the chance to create new nurses? They could free them selves from the fees of staffing agencies and head hunters.

One of my friends came and walked the picket line today. Yesterday, two came to the wonderful rally on the California Campus.

The support of the community has been amazing. I have never seen the entire Board of Supervisors on one side--let alone mine!

The RNs have come out and signed our petitions. A few are writing unsigned letters (for fear of retaliation). We also know there have been fewer admits.

Gotta Love those cell phones. We know everything, the guards are just theater. They want to cast us in the role of thug. Interesting, as an aide I have been trusted in closed rooms with grandmothers with Alzheimers to prevent them from pulling Central Lines out of their necks and yet now I am a thug. Yeah Right!

One CCU RN came out and told us that management came and gave them a flyer about Sutter's generous offer. She said, "We laughed and suggested that they talk to the people outside."

A Floor nurse came out and asked for buttons and purple bracelets to wear in the hospital. The RNs are looking for ways to show solidarity. Yesterday one of my RNs gave me a piece of cake.

Just as most aides did not know we were paid less than Kaiser, most nurses did not realize how much power they have. The hospital can not legally stay open with out them. Ironically the RNs who are not in the union, may wind up being the beneficiary of the strike. They are waking up to their power in the hospital--slowly but it is happening.

There was a rumor of people getting fired on October 1st. Because CPMC/Sutter never says the same thing to 2 people, we don't know what to believe.

Interestingly enough no one is talking about going back. A few of us have gotten calls from managers to return, but those individuals said NO.

If people were out for a week, why go back now? Also, why would they want to "beat" us and have hundreds of unhappy people return to work. It is weird. They have this odd woman in pink follow the aides around telling us to say, "How can I meet your emotional needs? I have the time!!!"

Besides the unintentional humor, it is so hypocritical. They could really make us happy by signing a relatively mild contract.

Make us Happy Jack!!! Just Say Yes!!!

linda Ruest

I have work at cpmc for 26 yr and this is the second striker that I been on it great to see so many of our menber out on the line and havejust high engery and they know what this is about I been told by nurse and other worker how miserable it is inside the hospital, and they allwant us back .I work in central distribution they are take 2to 3 hr to recevie the supplie from our dept and that is a very long tme if any one need something fast you are out of lucky and this is all about patient care so how can they say that the hospital is running smooth we all know how they lie to us and want us backinside to help out with the messys that the scab have done.the inside is not a happy place to be I so happy to be on the line with my bother and sister who untie against Sutter to win for all of california Unite we stand divide we fall. We will win this fight because we have one other. linda

emily stone

well, i am off the line today and relish a little time to do the basics ...relax,pay bills, take care of errands etc.
i am hoping that when i come back to the line on sunday, i will hear that something has changed, but i doubt it.
i really feel that sutter will eventually sign the mediators proposal, but wonder why they dont just do it now and get us all back to work. i really dont feel that this particular request is that outlandish.. really, it is pretty simple. i say "just do it"... sing the mediators proposal, and do it now.
as for my experiences on the line yesterday, it was pretty much business as usual. lots of chanting that has made my voice crack when i talk and lots of walking in cirles with my picket signs. i also talked with a few people about why we were out here and what we wanted. oddly enough, what i want most is not increased wages (although that would be nice), but better staffing rations, which would allow a much better level of patient care. it would have also been nice to meet will smith when he came to the davies pickett line in our support, but i will settle for better staffing and sutter sending us back to work by signing the mediators proposal.
i also want to mention one of my personal "highlights from the line", was meeting,talking, and chanting union slogans with one of the 1199 workers who came all the way from new york to lend his support and encouragement. his name was anthony and he was the greatest!!!! what drive, personality and what fun it was to walk the picket line with him. i genuinely want to thank him from the bottom of my heart.
just say yes!!!! thats the bottom line!


Today was great. We had a lively picket line with more members of the community stopping by to sign our petitions. As usual a few RNS stopped by to say they need us back.

We had mixed feelings about Dan Powers (Enviromental Manager)getting so fed up with the craziness inside that he quit! Dan was often put in a bad place by not being given enough workers, an ineffective pager system that was supposed to communicate which rooms need to be clean but doesn't always work.

Despite that we took his resignation as validation that it is crazy in there. They now have no EVS workers and no EVS manager.

They have scabs who have free run of the hospital. We have heard of the doctor whose laptop was stolen. We hear about everything. We bring our cell phones to the picket line and we hear it all.

We had a rally at the Bank of America and people picked up there checks. It was loud and fun. People's stress level has really seemed to drop. People want to know when are we going to win and no longer if we will.

I did some phone banking with other members to call our fellow strikers and remind them that the union will cover their health care. Everyone already knew that! People have formed little networks of their own.

One Aide told me she she calmed her coworker down by reminding her of the union pledge to cover our insurance.

We Nursing Aides are especially isolated. We don't work with partners and support 4 to 5 RNs. We never exchange information---until now. After the rebid, CPMC did not integrate Aides into the new RN to Patient ratio. There is no clear guide to how we should support our RNs. We provide different support for each RN and their is no mechanism to avoid conflicts and to make sure the various demands on us are logisitically possible.

When I got home, I had another "Dear Valued Employee" letter. Telling me that I will be welcome back with "Open Arms". I am welcome to take 18 patients, but not welcome to mention if it isn't possible to help everyone.

We get many of our Emergency Room Admits during dinner. Many of our elderly patients are dependent diners who need assistance to eat. I want just want a system where the person who was been on a gurney in the ER for 6 hours gets a warm bed while an eldely stroke victim gets assistance with eating (while following proper swallowing precautions). We wing it each time with mixed results.

I still like CPMC. I think they try to be agreesive with disease and compassionate with patients. We wouldn't work there if they were Satan. Most problems could be resolved through communication. But communication means that both parties listen. CPMC has never acknowleged that the Aides have anything to say.

I just want to give a Shout Out to the 1199 New Yorkers and the SEIU So Cal staff. Thanks, you've been great.

CPMC & Sutter

We've said "Yes". We want to come back together. We want to join you in a promise to the community to give the best care under the best conditions.

C'mon Sutter. Just Say Yes.


Saurday was a lot of fun.

Besides the big fun lunch rally on the Davies Campus, there was the company picnic.

We showed up at the picnic at Treasure Island dressed as pirates with eye patches! At first the company people thought we were there to disrupt and when we just "joined in" it confused them.

We are the workers and we are the company. Despite using the guards as props to make us look like thugs, people know the truth.

RNs and some doctors come out and offer their sympathy.

Yesterday we found out that 2 Respiratory Techs wore Purple T-Shirts (earlier in the week)on their rounds throughout one of the hospitals. They were told to put on scrub tops or go home.

Also a telemetry RN and told us that 5 South had 8 empty beds. They are not fully admitting. 5 South is normally full 7 days a week. As a cardiac floor (with special technology)it is the only dept that can take ordinary med/surg, and cardiac patients.

They would rather not earn money than sign a contract. They would rather hire guards than sign a contract. Well they won't feel that way in a month or longer, because we're not getting tired.

C'mon Sutter save yourself the trouble Just Say Yes!


It was another lively day at the picket line. Finely the September weather San Franciscans treasure has arrived.

Viagra was the word of the day. Eveyone was talking about the incident on the Davies Campus. Basically according to a Police Report three scabs stole Viagra from a medication cabinet.

People couldn't resist bad puns and jokes about the scabs. I started getting freak out though. A hospital is full of unconscious and sedated female patients. I really was disturbed by the thought of what could happen with scabs who have not gone through a proper back ground check. One of the RNs who is in contact with me said she finds the converations of the scabs to be "thugish" and does not bring a purse to work. In fact there has been a dramatic drop in women entering the building with their purses.

I met more of my coworkers' family members as they have shown up to walk the line. I knew my coworker Evelyn had a spunky 10-year old but met another son I knew nothing about. Like his younger brother, this fine young man came to support his Mother while she was online. He is employed in the neighborhood and came on his lunch hour.

Unlike other employment situations, CNAs don't really get to know each other. On the Evening shift we are separated one aide per node (a collection of rooms off the main hall). We work closely with the RNs and know them well. But this is the first chance to know them well. Many have sent support through email and calls to our cell phones.

Of course we know that Sutter has told both replacement workers and RNs that CPMC won't "give in" but more people on both sides of the line feel that a union victory is just a matter of time.

After doing my hours on the picket line I helped pass strike pay checks. My check partner & I insisted that everyone take a flyer on COBRA coverage when CPMC cuts off our health insurance. People were already informed that the union would cover their COBRA payments, but it was good to reassure them.

Everyone was surpisingly calm about it. Only one person (a diabetic)asked us to run through the COBRA issue twice and she left calm. We also had forms for CNAs to join registry and some of the EVS & dietary workers will get or have gotten a list of temporary hospital jobs in Alameda.

Not only has the union been great about strike fund money and registry, other companys seem to be more aware of our worth than CPMC. One registry rep who called me said he was eager to add more worker to their data base so they could add clients.

Some RNs from other hospitals who came to support the strike also talked to alot of the aides. I was wondering if they were AIDE shopping. They didn't outright say I should quit but told me about full time openings in their hospital.

It says something that an RN who hears your qualifications understands your value in 5 minutes and CPMC hasn't understood the value of my coworkers and I in the 6 years I have been working there.

Although I think we will win (in a few months)and get an industry standard contract, my fear of losing is not economic. If we lose and 100% of the workers return knowing we we have more patients and get get paid less than workers at other poorer hospitals, I fear CPMC will become a demoralized hell hole. Up till now it has been a friendly place to work.

Few workers understood how we fared compared to workers at other hospitals. Now everyone knows. It has been on English speaking TV, Filipino TV, and ads in the mainstream and gay press.

The A-list applicants will hold out for jobs at Kaiser and CHW. The people who will apply will work like the scabs and not work at the level of the people on the line.

People realize there is no reason to go back with out winning.

CPMC if you are an independent hospital, Just Say Yes. You are a San Francisco Hospital and you know San Francisco is a very different city. They will not take kindly to a rich Pacific Heights hospital trying to bust the union of enviromental workers, dietary workers and nursing assistants.

Just Say Yes.


It's been a few days since I last picketed (or posted).

it was good to return to the picket line on Sunday after a few days taking care of personal business. I signed up with registry to be more financially independent and better able to continue the strike.

Despite the strike, life marches on. It was a weekend of birthdays. I celebrated a friend's birthday on the beautiful Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Before picketing on Sunday, I worked with a hospice patient celebrating his last birthday with his family. Not only was it good to use my skills as a CNA helping him get ready for the party; it was a reminder of what it is all about. Be good to others and do the right thing, because we don't ever have as much time as we think.

I definitely think that I am doing the right thing. I really feel that if this leads to the recognition that evening shift aides have up to 18 patients that will be an accomplishment. I would personally enjoy having more aides so I could devote more time to each patient. Or perhaps having a defined set of duties instead of just doing everything that no one else will do--which is alot.

Sunday Night was a cold night on the picket line. I was glad to have the warm companionship of coworkers and union staff alike. With no signs and little prodding for attention I was surpised that the honks of support are increasing everyday.

Drivers now see us as a dependable part of the landscape. We even got the long awaited "Mercedes honk". It was the only ritzy brand of car that didn't give a toot--till now. One truck driver even gave us a box of candy bars!

Monday was great. I picketed in the sun--ahhh warmth! It was good to hear of the positive meeting with a member of the CPMC board. When people hear our case--face to face--they respond well.

The small but rowdy group of us that is willing to march up the hill to the front of the hospital have formed a close knit group. We make sure that out crew gets food and supplies. I really to do feel a greater bond with my coworkers and strangely the hospital.

I feel the strike is really more of a crisis intervention. The hospital has been doing the same things for too long (bad staffing and a lack of listening) and we are challenging them for healthier behavior.

More RNs came by the picket line to say that they want this strike over.

One doctor told another of the striking CNAs of a problem inside. CNAs are usally torn between too many patients but can sometimes be "sitters" and sit with one patient who is at risk of harming themselves.

This doctor (a resident) had a medical patient on 5150 (a 3 day psyciatric hold). Any patient at risk of harming themselves should have a sitter (especailly in the main hospital which is not "locked down" like the psyc unit) but over the years the incidence of 5150 patients without sitters has increased. This doctor found his patient leaving the facility because the patient had no sitter. Recently many CNAs have been asked to do vital signs on their 14-18 patients and "sit" for the patients.

On the ligher side, we had a temporary mascot. A cricket had found its way onto the picket line. The Picket Cricket then proceeded to cross the street with all of us cheering for it to avoid getting run over. Despite our aging eyes we could see it all the way over on the sunny side of the street. When it was finally out of eyesight, we decided that as long as it didn't cross the line it was okay to come and go.

Signing Off. And Sutter Please give us all an early birday present and Just Say Yes!

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