Some nurses at Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo could be fired if they join a Christmas Eve strike called by their labor union, hospital officials said this week.
Sutter Solano spokeswoman Nancy Turner said Monday that strikers would be subject to penalties "up to and including possible termination," if they participate in the one-day walkout, according to the Vallejo Times-Herald newspaper.
But the California Nurses Association, which called the job action at nine Sutter hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area to protest what it calls deteriorating patient care and working conditions, dismissed the hospital's threat as "bogus," the newspaper said.
The one-day strike, which Sutter Solano threatens to expand to five days by bringing in replacement nurses and locking out its regular staff, would be the latest in a series of job actions called by the CNA.
"They've called seven strikes in a year and a half, including three in the last 60 days," Turner said. "The law does not allow a series of hit-and-run strikes to disrupt the workplace -- we just simply can't afford this disruptive pattern of repeated strikes to continue."
Other hospitals expected to be subject to the nurses' strike include Alta Bates Summit Medical Center facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, San Leandro Hospital, Sutter Delta in Antioch and Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center in San Jose.
Nurses association spokesman Chuck Idelson said his group would ignore the Sutter threat because union activity is legally protected.
"The nurses are fully protected under the most fundamental labor law, which provides for collective action by working people in this country." Idelson said.
Idelson said the union would file a protest over the Sutter threat with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, DC.
But that certainly won't help contract negotiations, which have been at an impasse since last month, the newspaper said.
Vallejo is the largest city in Solano County, and was the state capital briefly in the 1850s.