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Stanford to cut striking nurses' pay, health care benefits

Original post made on Apr 18, 2022

Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital administrators have announced they will cut off health insurance benefits to striking nurses and their families as well as pay.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 18, 2022, 9:56 AM

Comments (30)

Posted by Impressive
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 18, 2022 at 10:52 am

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I cannot believe what I just read. Stanford, you should be ashamed of yourself. This is an appalling threat. Your nursing staff should be receiving hardship payment in addition to their regular salary for the long hours that each has put in during these last 2 1/2 years. They risked their own lives for the good of the community. Make this right!

Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 18, 2022 at 10:52 am

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I question if this threatening tactic on the part of Stanford is LEGAL. How fitting that Stanford will not listen and respect nurses.
Is this because the majority working in this profession are women? Do the hard work and remain at the table. Do not harm your nursing staff by taking away their healthcare benefits. Stanford you have already lost in the public’s mind with your disgraceful bullying.

Posted by Alan S
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 18, 2022 at 11:03 am

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Almost all union workers have to pick up their own insurance expenses if they don't work a minimum number of hours in a month. That's not related to strikes, it's just standard. I don't understand why this is surprising.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 18, 2022 at 11:12 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"The hospitals are "well prepared to continue to provide safe, quality health care to the communities that rely on us," they said."

Continue?? Really? Hardly what the nurses have been saying throughout the pandemic due to cuts in nurses aides, patients sitting in their own waste for hours, the chronic understaffing and the daily 5AM phone calls asking exhausted staff to work more, the burnout from constantly working overtime, the strains of having to lift 400 lb patients ALONE ...

Since "Health and Safety" is a top PA priority, isn't it high time for our leaders to call some hearings and check out the nurses' complaints?

Followup articles, roundtable panel discussions and interviews with both sides would be great, too.

Maybe Stanford can also explain how they can miraculously keep expanding year after year without causing any disruption and/or adding a single car trip over the years!

Posted by Claudette
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 18, 2022 at 12:33 pm

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I cannot comment on salaries because I don’t know.
I do know for the last 2 1/2 these nurses have worked
tirelessly to provide care for my family and this community. Long shifts, dangerous situations ,understaffing have been juggled at a huge cost to the well being of these amazing caregivers.
Stanford may not care but WE DO❣️

Posted by Carl Jones
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 18, 2022 at 1:12 pm

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I agree with the above statements about the value of nurses. And I would likely agree with their strike objectives if I knew more of the details. However, when anyone is out on strike, they are not working. And when not working, many if not all employer provided benefits are normally cut off - whether it is a hospital, an auto manufacturer, a large retail chain. Not much different than if you approached your employer and asked for a 4-week leave of absence, but you wanted them to hold your job for you while you were away and not working. You would not expect to be paid; you should expect to have to pay for or do without other employer provided benefits. I agree, the balance of power is frequently on the side of the employer and not the union. But, unless the employer's actions fall under unfair labor practices (as defined by law), why would you expect a company to pay someone for not working?

Sidebar - this is another reason the the U.S. ought to re-consider whether health care should be a benefit tied to employment, or should be provided in some other way.

Posted by karlakk
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 18, 2022 at 1:49 pm

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To be fair, nurses were being paid 1k to 2k a day in premium pay during the pandemic. While servers and bartenders, maids etc. were forced to work with people eating and drinking, smoking without masks and those environments were the most dangerous... they were the super spreader environments. Those workers were told to work or be fired... and lose their healthcare and no unemployment benefits. These nurses really need a reality check. They got to work in environments with educated people that used safety protocols,,, the uneducated and poor were thrown to the dogs.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 18, 2022 at 1:57 pm

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@Karlakk, maybe you should talk to some nurses and patients. No question the others faced risks and challenges but that doesn't undercut the nurses' demands.

As the nurses have said repeatedly, it's not just a question of money for them individually; they want more nurses and nurses aides hired so patient care doesn't suffer. That's dedication, not selfishness since they individually would make less in forced overtime, etc.

Read the posts in the other topics here. Read the nurses statement here ttps://

Posted by Joe
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 18, 2022 at 4:08 pm

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"Stanford said the move is a standard practice that 'is not unique to our hospitals ...'"

So is that true? Is this standard? It seems like something that would have been worth finding out and saying in the article.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 18, 2022 at 4:17 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Someone who should know said the decision to cut the benefits was made by an eager-beaver staffer WITHOUT consulting Stanford's legal team. If true, Stanford would have to admit they were being incompetent in prematurely announcing this -- something we've yet to see them when they've been criticized for anything else.

And yes, further reporting / digging on this and Stanford's claim would be good.

Posted by Joshua
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2022 at 5:01 pm

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Ahh yes... The greedy must protect their record profits, instead of distributing the wealth to those who sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears. Why work on improving the system, when Stanford can just pocket the cash....... IT IS STANFORD, why do they need to continue to hoard wealth, like they have for the past 130 years

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2022 at 5:04 pm

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If increased pay wasn't part of their bargaining, I'd feel bad for the nurses. After seeing the dollar amount of the average Stanford RN salary (118% ABOVE the national average) the thought of them asking for more money is absurd. If they can't afford to live in an area with a high cost of living, don't take a job in an expensive area.

Also, 60% of RNs at magnet hospitals have a BSN, which means some of these nurses are making really good money without a four-year degree.

They shouldn't be paid while striking. Losing their benefits does seem a little harsh, but they can pay for their own through Cobra.

Staffing shortages seems obvious. There has been a a nursing shortage for a very long time.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 18, 2022 at 6:13 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

" If they can't afford to live in an area with a high cost of living, don't take a job in an expensive area."

So we should all go without decent health care?? It now takes almost a year to get an appointment with a preferred specialist and 9 months for the first available one.

Following your logic, things would only get worse.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2022 at 6:59 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Your healthcare has nothing to do with someone else's salary, and whether or not an employee can/can't afford to live in an area. Anyone who is making 118% ABOVE the national average for ANY profession shouldn't be fighting for more pay. It's called GREED.

Following your logic (or lack thereof) should they get paid 150%, 200% above the national average so they can buy a $5-$10 million home? A lot of people don't live anywhere near work, including me.

Doctors usually live near the hospital. Nurses, like the rest of us live where they can afford to live.

Posted by cupcake
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2022 at 6:59 pm

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I'm a patient at Stanford, and I was suppose to have cancer treatment appointment on 27th but now due to the possible strike nothing can get scheduled.
I believe if one doesn't work -> one doesn't get paid and doesn't get health insurance. Why is it surprising? If I quit my job any time this month - I'm also going to lose health insurance from May 1. Also, for a new grad/entry level $142K base salary is good, even in Bay Area.

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2022 at 7:05 pm

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Having served as the Medical Center's Executive Director during the nurses' first strike my advice to both sides is to settle quickly.

Holding patients hostage is a painful experience for everyone involved - particularly the patients and their families.

And Stanford should realize that neither public opinion nor the balance sheet are on your side.

Posted by cieboy
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 18, 2022 at 7:43 pm

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I pray cool heads prevail, egos are shelved and the parties return to the bargaining table. Please reach a settlement rapidly. San Mateo County nurses just reached an agreement. Stanford can certainly do the same.

Posted by JB
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 18, 2022 at 9:04 pm

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This is shocking. Stanford is so rich and is punishing hard-working nurses who go on strike? This is a great way to lose the respect of the community. Please reconsider your harsh treatment of your nurses.

Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 18, 2022 at 9:47 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

This should not come to a surprise. If you are not working, there is no basis for receiving pay or benefits. Why would we expect that employers (who are paying for replacement workers) should have the funds to pay for benefits for strikers?

Some unions have strike funds that include money for COBRA or other health benefits. Such strike funds are built up by employee contributions to the unions.

No free lunch for anyone.

Posted by Laurie
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 18, 2022 at 10:23 pm

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Well said, Peter Carpenter. Thank you for all your good works, by the way.

Posted by Kim
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 19, 2022 at 4:41 am

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@jennifer the salary that the nurses make here is directly related to the cost of living. Despite the wage/approach that you find to be greedy, many many of these nurses are super commuters. Because even with their 118% more than the national average salaries, they need to live 2 hours away to be able to buy a house. And while you may not live close to work, I wonder if you work 18-hour shifts overnight and into the day, that are largely physical, and then drive 2 hours home? They do.

I applaud the work that nurses do. They are the unsung heroes of the healthcare system. There are the patients advocate. They do all the heavy lifting. Anybody who's been very sick and required the care of a nurse, will understand this. They take care of us. How can we take care of them, if Stanford isn't going to?

@karlakk waiters and maids were not able to work during the early to mid part of the pandemic when we were on lockdown. The nurses were required to work, for a good bit of that time without being allowed to wear masks or use PPE, as the hospital was following the CDC guidance that at that time said they were not needed. And then worked for several more months before a vaccine was available. They put themselves and their families directly at risk, for a long long time. This was also around the time Stanford required many of the staff to take a pay cut or forced to use vacation time up. So yes, other people/professions were put at risk at some points during the pandemic. But they weren't taking care of people dying of covid, and later, exposed to covid by patients who refuse to get the vaccine.

Healthcare is an absolute crisis, and I predict there will be a huge wave of RN resignations during and after this strike. Why stay? It's too hard to live here.

I stand with the nurses.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 19, 2022 at 8:02 am

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The strike hasn't even started and the headlines are already bad. For Stanford. Union members no doubt knew that their compensation and benefits would be impacted negatively if they went on strike and still 93% of the members voted to strike. That's huge. It's also an indictment of the employer. Per the article "the hospitals are well prepared to continue to provide safe, quality health care to the communities that rely on us". That can only mean that the hospitals have the $ to pay for substitute nurses. Why not instead use that $ to meet the conditions that CRONA is asking for, which include addressing burnout by providing mental health benefits and maintaining staffing levels that are in the best interests of caregivers AND patients.

Stanford crows about its wealth; surely the hospitals can afford to be an exemplary employer and not one that nearly the entire nurses union is willing to strike against. A happy and healthy "Nurse Force" is in everyone's best interests.

Posted by Alan S
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 19, 2022 at 8:36 am

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Some posters talk about Stanford's wealth, but the hospitals aren't part of Stanford University, they are separate and don't have access to the University's funds. In fact, the hospitals PAY the University for the support of the School of Medicine.

Regarding 93% of nurses voting, they didn't vote to strike; they voted to authorize the union leadership to call a strike if leadership chose to do so. Voting against that would mean the union would have lost all its negotiating power, so it's rare that any union membership would vote against allowing their leadership that option. That doesn't mean that they WANTED a strike to be called.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2022 at 9:47 am

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[Post removed.]

Posted by 2Sides2aStory
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 19, 2022 at 11:27 am

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I absolutely support and value nurses like everyone especially having gone through the last pandemic, but as others have already indicated - if they authorized union to strike their contingency manual and bylaws would state that benefits would end at the month the strike is initiated. This is standard union practice. Also, if they are not working, no employer (union or otherwise) is obligated to pay for benefits for non-working employees unless unfair labor law practices occur. So, why so surprised here about benefits ending? COBRA is available to anyone who's benefits end.

Let's be clear, SHC/LPCH are not part of the University and funding is separate so SHC/LPCH are not "rich" and as already called out have to pay for services to the university. Hospitals also don't set pricing rates of healthcare either, so let's not confuse that issue either.

My understanding is also that RN benefits are fully paid whereas other SHC/LPCH employees (non-union) have to pay for them out of pocket employee cost. All I'm saying is there are 2 sides to story and sensational headlines of "cutting benefits and pay" is absolutely misleading when this isn't the case here. Shame on the reporter/this publication for this headline! Nurses are asking for more money and increased benefits they already don't pay for and the hospitals are countering to meet in the middle to limit the discrepancies of all employees already in place.

Hospital strikes in the end only hurt patients pending services as they have to be delayed or those patients trying to schedule services as hospitals have to redirect to support strikes.

Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 19, 2022 at 9:03 pm

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As usual Peter Carpenter comes up with a well thought out comment.

Posted by MattR
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 22, 2022 at 1:13 pm

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@karlakk. My wife is a nurse at LPCH. She got no premium pay. She got grueling hours, spotty PPE availability, patients who had covid and denied it.

And Stanford health services is offering a bit over this last year's inflation rate alone to cover three years of pay raises? No wonder they voted for a strike.

The hospitals were understaffed before the pandemic. Now it's worse. Almost every day there are open shifts. And Stanford Health Services response is to offer less than inflation raises? The "skilled replacement nurses" will be getting 2x to 3x the union nurses pay, paid for by strike insurance for two weeks. And because they don't know the hospitals well, non skilled nursing staff will be brought in to guide them. Woe to those that need a truly complex surgery during the strike. Despite what SHS says, they will NOT be providing the best of care during the strike.

My wife has helped over 10,000 babies enter this world. She has caught issues that literally has saved the lives of newborns and mothers. And Management's answer is less than inflation offer, despite the fact that the job has gotten harder and more dangerous.

The nurses WILL remember this. All of us involved in this will remember this.

For a very very long time.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 22, 2022 at 2:08 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Excellent point, Matt.

Compare and contrast the financials for Stanford in 2019 and the compensation figures for its top execs. Web Link

Key Employees and Officers Compensation
QUINN MCKENNA (COO) $1,501,697
LINDA HOFF (CFO) $1,165,864

Posted by Stanford RN
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:59 pm

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The fact that these administrators employed by a non profit hospital direct the hospital resources to pay themselves six hundred thousand to millions of dollars per year in income is despicable. In one month, the CEO makes more than what two nurses earn in one year. This a non profit, whose resources should be used to provide for services and outreach in the community as well as provide for their employees. I don’t understand how they can deny nurses asking for what amounts to a five to ten thousand dollar a year salary increase. With a baseline salary for nurses that is in the $100K - $160K range, nursing provides a good income but not one that can afford a home anywhere near work. I leave at 430am and return home at 930pm each shift I work. Nursing is a job with great responsibility and great risk as well. I hurt my back holding a patient so she wouldn’t fall and I can no longer sleep without pain. I have had patients who have mental health issues that cause them to verbally and physically abuse nurses to the point of tears. The travelers Stanford has contracted during the strike are being paid $13K per week. Yet somehow Stanford doesn’t have $13K per year for their own nurses. I don’t understand the resistance from the hospital administration as they pay themselves so richly.

Posted by Big Problems
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 27, 2022 at 11:17 am

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Although I don't necessarily agree with having the benefits taken away, the article fails to mention that the nurses get healthcare covered for themselves and family for free. So it's not surprising that a free perk would be taken away if one stopped showing up to work. If I stopped showing up to work and didn't anyone when I might be back, I wouldn't expect to keep getting paychecks.

From the stanfordpackardvoice website - entry level nurses would start at $143K and more senior nurses at $226K before bonuses and overtime to work 3 12-hr shifts/week. It sounds like a lot of money for reasonable hours but it's a hard job. Nurses deserve every penny and more... but they are not the only ones that deserve to have a reasonable commute to work. What about teachers, other first responders, etc...? There's a larger problem of why housing is unaffordable and even if Stanford gave everyone huge pay raises, it likely won't be enough, and drive up housing prices even more. I'm not sure what kind of salary you would need that would allow you to compete with the big tech employees and stock options to buy 3-4M home in the bay area, but probably explains why people are leaving healthcare. I have doctor friends that have commented that they earn even less than nurses and also can't afford to live in the bay area. They have no unions and don't get paid extra to work on weekends, holidays, or overtime.

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