Sutter Healthcare workers to hold early morning picket line Tuesday, April 23 in Santa Cruz

Press ReleasesApril 19, 2024

CONTACT: Francisco Castro,, (213) 500-9037

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Approximately two dozen rehabilitation specialists who drive throughout Santa Cruz County treating patients in their homes will hold a two-hour picket Tuesday outside a Sutter Health office to demand a fair contract that pays them market-rate wages and doesn’t make it harder for them and their loved ones to access medical care.

The healthcare workers, who include speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and medical social workers are employed by Sutter’s Visiting Nurse Association of Santa Cruz. They’ve been without a contract since last July and unable to reach an agreement in part because despite persistent understaffing, Sutter is insisting on making them pay more for their health insurance and reserving the right to unilaterally make additional cuts to their health benefits.

“We’re dedicated to meeting the needs of vulnerable Santa Cruz County residents who can’t make it to their local medical office,” said Ashley Christiansen, a physical therapist. “We expect Sutter to honor our commitment by continuing to provide affordable health coverage and paying fair wages so we can be fully staffed to best serve our patients.”

WHO/WHAT: A picket line by Sutter Health homecare workers, who will be chanting and holding signs.

WHERE/WHEN: 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 23 in front of Sutter’s Visiting Nurse Association of Santa Cruz, 2880 Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz.

Sutter has paid its homecare workers significantly less than comparable hospital workers, which has resulted in frequent turnover and understaffing. In addition to preserving their health benefits, the workers are seeking competitive wages with equal starting salaries for each classification.

Homecare is an increasingly important component of providing care for seniors. According to a 2022 study of the Medicare population, McKinsey & Company estimated that $265 billion worth of care services (representing 25% of the total cost of care) could shift from traditional facilities to the home by 2025. That number represents a three- to-fourfold increase in the cost of care being delivered at home today for this population.


The National Union of Healthcare Workers is a member-led movement that represents more than 17,000 workers in California and Hawai’i.