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Workers at 10 Bay-Area Hospitals Stage One-Day Walk-Out

Aired July 6, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The doctor is in, but the support staff took a hike today in San Francisco. Workers at 10 Bay-area hospitals are staging a one-day walk-out. They say they're underpaid, and so overworked that patient care is jeopardized. Today's labor pains only aggravate the health care crisis in the Bay-area. Nurses at two Stanford University hospitals have been on strike for a month.

San Francisco bureau chief Greg Lefevre is watching this story. He joins us from Oakland -- Greg.

GREG LEFEVRE, CNN SAN FRANCISCO BUREAU CHIEF: Hello, Natalie.

Well if you're dying today, you will get emergency care but anything short of that, well, it's a case of good luck. Four thousand hospital workers are -- have stepped out for a one-day walkout at 10 Northern California hospitals. The biggest concentration of those hospitals, six are here in the Oakland area.

Now this is the classic economic squeeze. The hospitals say Medicare -- that managed care and insurance companies are forcing them to hold down costs. But these workers, who are emergency room technicians, operating room technicians, and food workers, say that means that there are too few people left to actually do the work.

This union says it wants a say in who and how many workers are out there on the floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAL ROSSELLI, LOCAL UNION PRESIDENT: It's health care workers, the people that provide the care, wanting a voice with the accountants and the CEOs to determine on the staffing that's needed.

BILL GLEESON, SUTTER HEALTH SPOKESMAN: The message that Local 250 is sending is that lifetime job guarantees are more important than the health and safety of the patients that they are supposed to be protecting today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEFEVRE: Now this walkout is in addition to a month-old nurses' strike south of here. in Palo Alto. There, at the Stanford Medical Center, and at the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, nurses have been on strike there for about a month. And five hospital workers stepped out of another Oakland hospital just two weeks ago here.

So who's taking care of the patients inside? Well, the doctors are still on duty, the nurses are still on duty, though some members of the nurses' union have said they may honor the picket lines later today.

Greg Lefevre, CNN, reporting live from Oakland, California.

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