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Day Without Nurses

Like the recent film that depicts what a day without a Mexican might be like, 7,000 health care workers at 13 Northern California Sutter hospitals, including Sutter Solano in Vallejo, Sutter Lakeside in Lakeport, Sutter Warrack in Santa Rosa and Sutter Santa Rosa, will stage a one-day strike on Dec. 1. The decision to strike came after six months of failed contract negotiations between the Health Care Worker's Union (Service Employees International Union 250) and Sutter Health, the largest nonprofit hospital chain in northern California. At issue are staffing levels at Sutter hospitals that, according to healthcare workers, endanger patients and overwork staff, as well unfair labor practices such as the alleged surveillance and intimidation of employees interested in union representation. Sutter officials deny that staffing levels are too low, insisting that the union wants a broad contract that covers all the Sutter hospitals, instead of individually negotiating contracts at each site. "This is not about a single contract," says Darnita Goodman, a nurse assistant at the Sutter-owned Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. "This is about standing up for our patients. Sutter keeps cutting down the number of caregivers and we don't have time to really take care of people."

Black Box Van

Was the presidential vote in Ohio rigged? That answer may be revealed sometime after Dec. 6, when a recount demanded by Green and Libertarian presidential candidates is scheduled to begin. In order to shuttle concerned North Bay residents a little closer to the action, Healdsburg attorney Gail Jonas has christened the Black Box Van, or BBV for short, to transport voters who question the election results to events and rallies. The van seats 11, Jonas included. "We've labeled it the BBV because we are organizing a 'Caravan for the Real Count' to take people to Ohio for the recount," says Jonas, who adds that she is still looking for a qualified driver.

Unequal Partnership?

From Love Savers, the Marin County chapter of Marriage Equality California, comes news that California's domestic partners law, due to go into effect Jan. 1, ain't out of the woods yet. It seems anti-gay marriage group Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), rebuffed in its attempt to declare the domestic partners law unconstitutional in September by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Loren E. McMaster, hasn't taken the defeat lightly. The group plans to appeal its case, which argued that Proposition 22, a state constitutional amendment passed in 2000, dictates that marriage--and therefore, domestic partnership--can only be between a man and a woman. Moreover, CCF has initiated a recall campaign against Judge McMaster. Meanwhile, as CCF's website notes, "San Francisco's homosexual assemblyman, Mark Leno" will introduce a full-blown "homosexual marriage license" bill to the Legislature on Dec. 6.

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From the December 1-7, 2004 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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