I expect this will be my final blog post about the Sutter/CPMC strike on this site. So I want to take this opportunity to send out a worldwide thanks to all the bloggers who sent their thoughts, comments, solidarity and support over the 60 powerful and energizing days of the dispute.
This appreciation starts with our own CMPC members/strikers Emily Stone and Tom Reynolds who, nearly daily by way of this blog, gave compelling, descriptive, heartfelt and often amusing reports from the lines. Thanks Emily; thanks Tom. Your blog posts kept us up to date on matters along the lines and were morale boosters for everybody involved.
Strikers’ spirits were lifted, too, by the support and encouragement received from across the country. Bloggers from Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Kentucky, San Diego, Maine, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia and elsewhere weighed in on our strike. Typical was a solidarity blog sent midway through the dispute. “You’re the backbone of America, and America supports you,” said Manteo from Brooklyn.
“Workers are the fabric of this nation and all we ask is a living wage, decent working conditions and respect as human beings,” blogged a member of the postal workers’ union in Suffolk, Virginia. “It’s hard to stand up for what’s right when few on the outside world seem to care, but when unions win we all win.”
For the record, I want to report that our 800 members at the three Sutter Health campuses of CPMC attained all their major goals: a real voice on staffing issues, a training and job upgrade fund, stronger seniority and transfer language, fast and fair union elections for unrepresented workers at CPMC and industry-standard wages and benefits.
Through persistence, determination and a lot of sacrifice, our outstanding rank-and-file bargaining team reached tentative agreement Nov. 9 after two straight days of marathon talks. Negotiations were facilitated in the final days by intense involvement of SF Civic Leader Lou Giraudo and Congressional Representative Nancy Pelosi. It’s also important to mention Aaron Peskin, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who helped so much throughout this strike. We are forever grateful for their help and leadership in bringing this strike to its successful conclusion.
Most of all, I wish to commend the strikers themselves for their incredible courage. In the end, this great victory was won because of the unity and unbreakable resolve of strikers who, throughout the 60 days of the dispute, maintained solid around-the-clock lines at CPMC’s three campuses—Pacific, California and Davies.
This was a collective victory that could not have been achieved without the dedication and selfless work of staff, most immediately those in the Hospital Division. Other staff and members from throughout the union also gave generously in time, energy and contributions to help the cause of CPMC sisters and brothers.
This is old news, but I want to emphasize it once again because it’s significant. The CPMC settlement set the pattern for a tentative contract won a day later at San Francisco’s St. Luke’s Hospital, also operated by Sacramento-based Sutter Corp. After a year of futile negotiations, workers at the Mission District facility had set a strike date of Nov. 14 and were poised to walk out.
In Nov. 11 balloting by CPMC members, the agreement was ratified by a 97% margin. The following day, St. Luke’s members nearly unanimously approved their contract. Like others, I’m hopeful these hard-won agreements will initiate a positive and cooperative relationship with Sutter Health in San Francisco and usher in a new era of higher quality care for CPMC and St. Luke’s patients.
Meanwhile, this blog remains open. We invite folks to keep the comments coming. We’d especially like to hear from strikers themselves—your thoughts on what this strike and settlement means to you. Great victory! Thanks all!