OAKLAND -- A federal judge has temporarily blocked Sutter Health's Alta Bates Summit Medical Center from enforcing a new schedule for its nurses.
The medical center with campuses in Oakland and Berkeley is cutting 358 positions and closing its skilled nursing facility and required all its nurses to reapply for jobs. The new work schedule was to have begun Sunday, but U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg granted the nurses a temporary restraining order Friday.
The California Nurses Association maintains that the 1,700 registered nurses having to rebid for jobs will result in many of them working less than 20 hours a week and losing their benefits.
Seeborg's order remains in effect until a March 12 federal court hearing on the nurses association's request for a preliminary injunction to stop the new schedule.
After Seeborg issued the order, the medical center restored the old schedule.
"Alta Bates Summit is grateful for the tremendous response of our nursing staff who put safe and effective patient care as their highest priority and returned to work as assigned," said Jill K. Gruen, spokeswoman for Sutter Health, which owns the medical center.
But she also said the hospital intends to reschedule the nurses. "While we are disappointed with the temporary delay, we are confident that the dispute will be resolved and we can move forward with the appropriate schedule in the near future," Gruen said.