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Thousands Of Nurses Walk Off Job In Northern California Sutter Strike

BERKELEY (KCBS)— More than 4,000 registered nurses at 10 Sutter Health hospitals in Northern California walked off the job in Tuesday's May Day protests.

The California Nurses Association of Oakland has been talking about a contract for more than a year. The main issues include sick pay, a reduction in worker benefits and health care premiums proposed by Sutter as part of contract talks.

According to the nurses' association the hospital wants to change the sick-leave policy by putting sick days, vacations and holidays into a paid-time off "bucket." Nurses said that would cut their paid time off by 10 to 20 days a year.

The hospital also wants nurses to pay a premium if they want health care outside of Sutter Health, according to the CNA.

This is the third time in the past seven months Sutter nurses have held a one-day strike. Bay Area hospitals affected include Alta Bates Summit hospitals in Oakland and Berkeley; and Mills-Peninsula Health Services and hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo.

The hospitals will stay open with replacement workers although elective procedures could be rescheduled.

Though the strike is only supposed to be one day, the nurses have been told they won't be allowed back to work until Sunday.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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