Update: Next Steps Beyond the Strike Vote

This week, CRONA members voted to authorize a strike. We have heard you loudly and clearly: CRONA Nurses are ready and willing to strike if that’s what it will take to get the wages, benefits and working conditions we deserve. Your CRONA negotiating team will continue trying to reach a fair deal with the hospitals. But if the hospitals are not willing to agree to the terms we need, CRONA members are ready to strike.

We know that for members, the decision to authorize a strike is not taken lightly. We are taking your “yes” vote as a serious mandate to fight for what Nurses need. We also understand that the prospect of a strike can be nerve-wracking, and we take seriously the need to help Nurses prepare for a strike.

We want CRONA members to feel informed and aware as we move into this new phase of negotiations. Here is some information on a few topics that may be on your mind. And as always, if you have questions please reach out to us directly at crona@crona.org.

Timing of a Potential Strike

The CRONA Executive Board will set the date of a strike. Your negotiating team is scheduled to meet with the hospitals next week as part of a formal federal mediation process that the hospitals requested. The result of the strike vote demonstrated our Nurses’ overwhelming unity and strength. We hope this show of resolve will help the hospitals decide to agree to our common-sense proposals. If the hospitals will not agree to the package of wages, benefits and working conditions we need, we will go on strike. In the case of a strike, CRONA’s Executive Board will notify members and issue a formal strike notice to the hospitals, and the strike could begin as soon as ten days after we give notice.

Length of a Potential Strike

CRONA leadership will determine the duration of a strike. Historically, CRONA has not done one-day strikes. In past negotiations, strikes have been avoided altogether or, as in 2000, have lasted as long as 51 days, which was the longest Nurses’ strike in California history at the time.

Striking is always a last resort. Our goal throughout these negotiations, and moving forward, has been to work with the hospitals to reach an agreement on a comprehensively competitive package for CRONA Nurses so that our patients can receive the world-class care that Stanford and Packard hospitals are renowned for.

Patient Care During a Strike

In the case of a strike, the hospitals will have ten days of notice to make necessary preparations. In fact, we know the hospitals are already preparing for a strike. We care about making sure that patients are cared for during a strike. CRONA will do what it can to make sure there is not a disruption to patient care and, as in previous instances when CRONA Nurses have decided to strike, CRONA will offer to work with the hospitals on contingency staffing planning to ensure patient safety.

Financial Impact on the Hospitals

Keep in mind — the hospitals have never claimed that they can’t afford the wages and benefits we need. If we go out on strike, they will pay the price — it could cost millions of dollars to hire scab workers during the strike. Recently, in Riverside county, a nursing strike of only three days ended up costing the health system $1.5 million. We know that in past years, the hospitals have paid top-dollar wages to try and attract travelers to fill in for CRONA Nurses. CRONA’s position is that Nurses, patients and the hospitals will all be better served if the hospitals agree to the wages and benefits we need to be competitive. Although they have plenty of it, Stanford and Packard should not be spending their money on fighting us.

Preparing for a Possible Strike

There are a few things you should be doing now to get prepared. To prepare for a possible strike, sign up with nurse registries and/or apply for a per diem job at other hospitals. You will need proof of immunization (vaccination and TB testing) when you apply for a job, so be sure to obtain it from Occupational Health. Contact occhealth@stanfordhealthcare.org; 650-723-5922 (main hospitals); 650-721-7316 (Redwood City). You should also print your most recent performance evaluation. Visit the CRONA website for more information about temporary employment options: www.crona.org/negotiations.

Information About Federal Mediation

A federal mediator is a neutral third party whose job is to try to help resolve contract negotiations. The hospitals formally requested the services of a federal mediator to try to help CRONA and the hospitals reach an agreement. As part of our ongoing efforts to bargain in good faith, we agreed to meet with the hospitals and the mediator next week. We will continue working to get the hospitals to agree to the package of wages, benefits and working conditions we need.

Federal mediators can help find ways to reach agreement, but they cannot force us or the hospitals to agree to anything. If the hospitals will not agree to the package we need, we will have no choice but to move forward with a strike.

What’s Next

Keep showing your strength and unity by wearing your CRONA buttons and badge holders, and by staying informed and talking to others about the negotiations process. We need to show management that we are united, and that we are ready to strike if that is what it will take.

CRONA members have spoken: we are ready and willing to strike for the wages, benefits and working conditions that we deserve.

Stay tuned for more news! The CRONA Executive Board and Negotiation Team will continue to provide updates and keep you up to date on our ongoing efforts to secure a contract agreement. Tomorrow we will have a special message from the CRONA archives, and later in the week we will update you on our sessions with the federal mediator.


CRONA In the News

In case you are not following our Facebook page, here is some news coverage you may have missed:

SF Chronicle: Nurses authorize strike at Stanford, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

KQED: Nurses at Stanford and Lucile Packard Hospitals Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize Strike

Modern Healthcare: Stanford Health Care nurses union may strike over stalled negotiations

Stanford Daily: Stanford nurses vote to authorize strike

Keep up to date with negotiations by checking your email and attending membership meetings. Download a printer-friendly PDF of this post here.

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