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Phil Matier: Nurse Salaries Under Microscope Amid Labor Battle

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Nurses prepare pickets during a previous strike action. (CBS)

Nurses prepare pickets during a previous strike action. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The public has gotten a snapshot of the pay of executives at Sutter Health and its hospital nurses in the midst of a California labor dispute. According to Sutter pay records, in 2009, 20 Sutter Health executives were paid more than one million dollars each. The CEO, Pat Fry, made close to $4 million.

Twenty nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley received between $200,000 and $291,000 last year, in part because of over-time costs.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Comments:

The average pay for the center’s 1,800 nurses is $136,000.

KCBS Political Insider Phil Matier said that five of the highest paid nurses even received more than $100,000 each in stand-by pay, which is what it’s called when a nurse is paid to be on call.

“Hands down the nurses come out as more sympathetic in this,” said Matier. “However, when you hear that their average pay, with overtime, can be as much as $138,000 and a lot of the fight is about whether they should contribute more to their benefit packages, that’s when it starts getting a little dicey because a lot of people are being asked in other businesses to do that.”

Last month, after a one-day strike by nurses, Sutter locked its nurses out for five days, and during that time a fill in nurse made a mistake that led to a patient’s death.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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