Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital nurses begin two-day strike

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital nurses went on strike Monday for the third time since October, launching a two-day walkout to protest the direction of labor talks.

Hospital management and the Santa Rosa-based Staff Nurses Association accused each other of refusing to compromise in ongoing labor negotiations.

The first nurses formed a picket line after their shift ended Monday morning at 5 a.m. Later in the morning, about two dozen nurses joined the picket line in front of the hospital on Montgomery Drive.

"We've been negotiating and we've made progress on some issues, but not on the critical issues," said Sue Gadbois, president of the nurses union, which represents about 650 nurses.

Gadbois said outstanding issues include disagreements over staffing, job security, benefits and pay. She said the hospital is proposing significant increases to health insurance contributions, in some cases doubling or tripling premiums.

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