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Registered nurses hold signs as they strike outside of the Mills-Peninsula hospital on September 22, 2011 in Burlingame, California. Tens of thousands of registered nurses held a one-day strike at more than thirty Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente hospitals in northern and central California to protest proposed cuts to benefits and other concessions sought by hospital management.
California Nurses Association union spokesman Charles Idelson says about 4,000 registered nurses at San Francisco Bay Area Sutter hospitals and 2,000 in Long Beach are participating in a one-day strike on Dec. 22.
Sutter spokesman Bill Gleeson is criticizing the union's decision, saying it's "especially unfortunate the union has chosen to strike just before Christmas."
The Long Beach hospitals aren't operated by Sutter, but Idelson says nurses at the facility, which is part of the MemorialCare Health System, are involved in a separate contract dispute.
Idelson says talks between the union and the hospitals have been going on for most of the year, with nurses unhappy over a number of issues, including health care coverage, sick leave and patient care concerns.
Gleeson says the hospital chain is contacting agencies to hire replacement nurses during the strike.
KPCC's Stephanie O'Neill reports on the strike.