Strike and Strike Vote FAQ

Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions

(last update 4/17/2022)

Strike FAQ

What is COBRA continuation coverage, how does it work, and how much does it cost?

  • COBRA is a federal law that requires employers to provide access to continued health benefits following certain qualifying events like voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in hours worked, or transition between jobs. A strike resulting in a loss of employer-provided coverage is generally a qualifying event for COBRA purposes.  The hospitals must provide you notice of the right to elect COBRA coverage and must provide at least 60 days to choose whether to enroll in COBRA coverage.  So long as you elect COBRA coverage by the end of that 60-day period and pay required premiums, your health insurance will continue uninterrupted. If your family is covered, you may elect coverage on behalf of yourself, your spouse, and/or your children.
  • The hospitals can require Nurses to pay for COBRA continuation coverage. The plan can include the costs currently paid by employees and the employer, plus an additional 2% for administrative costs. The amount charged cannot exceed 102% of the cost of the plan for similarly situated employees covered under the plan.
  • A summary of anticipated COBRA costs is available here. Please call VITA, the hospitals’ administrator of COBRA, at 650-810-1480 or 844-231-5331, or visit, with any questions.
  • You can also purchase health insurance through Covered California within 60 days of a loss of coverage. This may be less expensive than COBRA continuation coverage. You also may be able to join a spouse’s health insurance plan. (See answer above.)

Are dental and vision coverage included in COBRA coverage?

Per the information provided by VITA, the COBRA administrator, vision coverage is included with Aetna, SHCA, and Kaiser COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA dental coverage can be purchased separately. Please contact VITA with any specific questions at 650-810-1480 or 844-231-5331.

Can I use my HSA or FSA funds to cover the cost of purchasing COBRA insurance?

You will continue to have access to your HSA funds during a strike, and you may use your HSA funds to pay COBRA premiums. Because the hospitals have chosen to terminate our benefits as of May 1, to use your FSA funds after May 1 during a strike, you will need to purchase COBRA. FSA funds cannot be used to cover COBRA premiums.

Why not wait to strike until after May 1st, so the hospital will continue to pay for benefits in May?

CRONA represents approximately 5,000 Nurses, and not every Nurse works every week. To ensure all our members work one day in a month, we would need to delay a strike until at least two weeks into the month. There is no perfect time to strike. The Board considered carefully when a strike would be most likely to help Nurses achieve the strong contracts we deserve.

UPDATE 4/17: I am a new hire. Can I strike if I am in the trial period?

You are a member of CRONA once you are employed as a Nurse by the hospitals and we receive your Membership Dues Authorization, even if dues have not yet been taken out of your paycheck and/or you have not received your first paycheck. CRONA will demand that any contract settlement include an amnesty agreement covering the return of all CRONA Nurses, including Nurses who are in their trial period.

UPDATE 4/17: Will I be paid for pre-approved education hours or reimbursed for educational expenses during the strike?

Like pre-approved PTO, pre-approved education hours and access to reimbursement funds can be canceled only if this policy is also applied to all CRONA-represented Nurses, and in most circumstances, to other employees including management, support and ancillary personnel, and other departments. CRONA will file unfair labor practice charges if such a policy change is applied in a discriminatory manner. Although we cannot guarantee that you will be reimbursed for educational expenses incurred during the strike, you should save any receipts and submit them for reimbursement upon your return to work.

UPDATE: I have pre-approved PTO during the strike. Will I receive my pay for this time?

In an April 13 email, the hospitals announced that all previously scheduled PTO will be canceled. Pre-approved PTO that starts before or after the strike can be canceled only if this cancellation policy is applied to all CRONA-represented Nurses. In most circumstances, such a policy would also have to be applied to management, support and ancillary personnel, and other departments. CRONA is investigating whether the hospitals’ cancellation policy was applied in a way that does not discriminate against striking workers. CRONA will file unfair labor practice charges if the policy change was applied in a discriminatory manner.

How soon after the strike ends do we need to be back at work? What if I take a temporary job or I am away from the Bay Area?

As soon as we reach a tentative agreement, our Bylaws require us to present that agreement to the membership in at least three membership meetings prior to a ratification vote. Our Bylaws require the ratification vote to occur within ten days after the tentative agreement is reached, excluding weekends and holidays. Part of reaching a tentative agreement is negotiating details of our return to work, but we would recommend that you be in a position to return to work within no more than 10 days of a tentative agreement.

Will I have access to work email, the Citrix portal, or API during a strike?

Although it is possible you will continue to have access to mail, online portals and API during a strike, you should assume that you will not have access.

If the June PNDP panel is delayed, will I lose Clinical Nurse III or IV status?

You should continue to prepare your materials as you normally would, and to upload them electronically as soon as possible. If a panel is delayed by a strike, as part of an agreement to return, CRONA would address the status of Nurses applying to the PNDP for promotion or renewal.

If a patient or family member asks me about the strike, what should I do?

Please do not discuss the strike with patients or families. If a patient or family asks about the strike, advise the patient or family to discuss the issue with your manager.

Where can I get the form to request my Occupational Health records?

Occupational Health Services maintains records of required immunizations and required testing such as TB testing. You may need this information if applying for temporary work in case of a strike. It’s a good idea to request this information ahead of time as it may take some time to process for OHS to process your request.

OHS has a form you will be required to fill out. You may go in person to OHS or download the form linked here.

Who determines whether or not there will be a strike?

The CRONA membership. CRONA’s Bylaws call for a 2/3 vote (or 66.6%) of the entire membership to pass a strike vote. If you do not vote, it is a “No” vote.

Who will care for the patients while I am on strike?

If the CRONA membership votes to authorize a strike and the Executive Board delivers a strike notice to the hospitals, the hospitals will have at least ten (10) days before a strike begins to address patient care. CRONA’s Contingency Committee will also offer to meet with the hospitals to discuss staffing the nursing units, but there is no guarantee that the hospitals will accept our offer.

You may also work as a traveler/registry nurse at other hospitals, to which many of your patients may well be transferred.


Will there be a picket line this time if we strike?

Yes. We will need to hand out information to the other employees and the community explaining our issues.

Can I be fired for striking?

No. You can only be fired for misconduct on the picket line, i.e. violence or threats of violence. The hospital can permanently replace you, but CRONA will insist that an amnesty agreement covering the return of all CRONA Nurses be part of any settlement that is made. CRONA will insist that this will include the return of Nurses to their units, shifts and commitments.

Can management lock us out if we strike?

Yes. Management has the right to lock employees out, just as we have the right to strike. However, a lockout cannot be selective and they would have to lock out all of the CRONA Nurses – approximately 5000 across both hospitals.

What can I do in the meantime before a strike?

Show management that we are united. . Wear your CRONA buttons and badge reels, and use CRONA stickers on your reusable drink containers. Use your CRONA pens.

Read the flyers that are posted on your unit CRONA bulletin board. Attend the CRONA meetings. Sign up with the nurse registries and/or apply for a per diem job at other hospitals.

To prepare for a possible strike, you should ensure you have copies of your recent performance evaluations and obtain your immunization and TB testing records from Occupational Health. (Occupational Health at Main hospitals: 650-723-5922. Redwood City: 650-721-7316.) The form Authorization for Release of Information to submit to Occupational health for release of records is HERE. Submit this form to

At LPCH, you can access your BLS/ACLS card by: (1) logging in to your AccessHR account; (2) clicking on Professional Profile; (3) clicking on Basic Life Support – Edit/View or Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support – Edit/View; and (4) copying and pasting the URL provided next to “certificate license details” into a new web browser tab.  LPCH Nurses, make sure you complete your quarterly RQI checkoff to ensure you are up-to-date when we return from a strike. SHC Nurses should have copies of their ACLS/BLS certification cards.

Can I cash out my PTO to support myself during the strike?

No. PTO can only be cashed out upon termination of employment.

I am currently on disability leave. Will I still be covered if we are on strike?

Yes. The hospitals will not have any say over any insurance that is covered by the State such as State Disability Insurance (SDI).

What about short term disability (STD), long term disability insurance (LTD), Accidental Death and Life Insurance?

  1. Questions about Leaves of Absence – The Hartford (replaced Matrix as of 4/1/2019),, SHC: 800-524-8504, LPCH: 866-432-6721
  2. Short and Long Term Disability (existing cases from before January 1, 2019) – Liberty Mutual,, 800-320-7585 (under the umbrella of Lincoln Financial Group)
  3. Short and Long Disability (cases after January 1, 2019) – The Hartford,, SHC: 800-524-8504, LPCH: 866-432-6721
  4. Life Insurance or Accidental Death/Dismemberment – The Hartford,, SHC: 866-547-4205, LPCH 866-432-6721

What about worker’s compensation?

If you are eligible for worker’s compensation payments, the hospitals cannot withhold payments because worker’s compensation is required by the State.

What happens to maternity leave status if we strike?

If you are already on an approved leave when a strike begins, your leave should not be affected. If you have a child during the strike, you should remain eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL). These are state programs that the hospitals do not control.

Does using PTO or taking an “A” day count as working one day in the month for purposes of health coverage?

The answer depends on an interpretation of the medical plan documents. CRONA would argue that using approved PTO or an “A” day during the month should entitle you to health insurance coverage through the end of the month, but CRONA cannot guarantee that the medical plans would be interpreted this way.

I need to earn a full paycheck. What can I do?

All the registries will be very excited to hear that so many nurses would be looking for work.  Jobs are available. We can work!

Will I qualify for unemployment benefits during a strike?

No. Being on strike does not qualify you for unemployment benefits.

Will I qualify for unemployment benefits if the hospital locks us out before the strike date?

Yes. Call the California Unemployment Office: 1-800-300-5616.

Will my Caltrain Go Pass and VTA SmartPass still be valid during a strike?

Yes, these transit passes are valid for the full calendar year.  See:

Will my parking pass still be valid?

Yes, being on strike will not affect a parking permit you already purchased.

Can I schedule a vacation day or use a sick day on the day the a strike is scheduled to begin?


What happens if I am on medical leave on the strike day?

Your leave continues.

Can I work at UCSF or other hospitals during a strike?

Yes, if they are not on strike.

Why call a strike?

Like you, the CRONA Board and the Negotiating Teams are committed to caring for our patients. We are not eager to strike. If management will agree to a contract that includes the wages, benefits, and working conditions we need to recruit and retain world-class Nurses and combat chronic understaffing, we will not need to strike. But in the long run, we feel more harm will be done to our patients if real progress is not made to address the issues on the table, including providing a competitive compensation and retiree medical benefits package; safe staffing provisions; addressing the current crisis in critical care units; and improved access to mental health care. We have tried to resolve these issues at the bargaining table. A collective action is the strongest statement we can make.

Should I work at SHC or LPCH through the registry during a strike?

NO! Any time you cross the picket line, you prolong the strike. You will hurt your friends and your co-workers, and yourself, by crossing the picket line to prolong the strike.

Can I go to a required training class (e.g., PALS, ACLS) at the CE Center during a strike?

If CRONA has not established a picket line at the CE center and the training does not involve providing any direct patient care, then you can attend a class at the CE Center during a strike. Crossing a picket line during a strike is grounds for discipline under CRONA’s Bylaws. If you are unsure about attending a particular class, or engaging in any other activity during a strike, ask us directly at

Our pay period will end after the strike starts. How do will we get our pay checks?

Direct deposit paychecks should still be deposited. You may have to go to the hospital for the purpose of collecting your pay check if you receive a paper paycheck. Or you can ask that your check be mailed to you or sign up for direct deposit, if you don’t already use direct deposit.

Do I need to inform my manager of my intent to strike?

No. Just show up at the picket line, if a strike is called! Your manager will ask you if you will be available to work during a strike. Say NO. This is one tactic that is used to divide the membership.

I am working the shift immediately prior to the start of the strike. What should I do?

Finish your shift and report off to any supervisor on your unit. Remember, the hospital will have had at least ten (10) days to prepare for the strike.

I am scheduled to work the shift when the strike starts. What should I do?

If a strike is called, we will be giving you information closer to the time of the strike.

When would a strike begin?

If the CRONA membership votes to authorize a strike, then a strike could begin ten (10) days after the CRONA Executive Board issues a formal strike notice to the hospitals.

The hospital states that I can resign from CRONA. Is this true?

Yes. You can choose to become a service fee member, but you will still pay approximately the same amount and you will have no voting privileges. This is a technique managers may use to convince you to weaken all of CRONA by crossing the picket line when we are on strike.

What happens if a CRONA member crosses the picket line?

Crossing the picket line weakens CRONA and will have adverse effects on our ability to represent you now and in the future.

In accordance with our CRONA Bylaws, crossing the picket line is grounds for discipline. Discipline can be in the form of monetary sanctions, suspensions, and/or expulsion from membership.

What happens if I resign from CRONA or lose my membership because I cross a picket line?

You will be a non-member and still pay approximately the same fees as members. As a non-member, you will not be able to vote, run for office, or receive a CRONA scholarship.

Can I rejoin CRONA?

If you resign or lose your membership, you may apply for reinstatement after fulfilling all obligations set by the CRONA Executive Board. The CRONA Executive Board decides whether or not it is in the interest of CRONA and its members to reinstate your membership. Monetary sanctions or a reinstatement fee may also apply.

I’m scheduled for jury duty. If I get called to report to the courthouse and get selected to serve on a jury, will I get paid for the hours I spend in the courthouse now that our contracts have expired? What if we go on strike?

Although our contacts have expired, the hospitals must maintain the “status quo” as we continue bargaining for new contracts. That means the hospitals should continue to follow the rules that apply to paid jury time under Sections 21 and 15.14.8 of the SHC contract and Sections 20 and 14.13.9 of the LPCH contract. In general, those rules require the hospitals to pay for time you are required to spend physically in the courthouse waiting to be called or serving on a jury when you would normally be scheduled to work. If you are serving on a jury when a strike begins, your jury service should continue, and you should continue to be paid for jury service time under these same rules for days you were scheduled to work. If you are scheduled to report to jury service for the first time after a strike begins, you can serve on the jury, and you can contact CRONA to discuss how the jury service pay rules may apply to your situation.

Voting FAQ

If a strike vote is authorized by the CRONA membership, does that mean we go on strike immediately?

No, it means we authorized the CRONA Executive Board to call a strike. The CRONA Executive Board will have the ability to call a strike once the membership gives authorization, and will do so only if it is necessary. There is also a legal requirement to give the hospitals a 10-day notice of any strike. You will be well informed about what a strike means if we go on strike.

What if I don’t vote?

Not voting counts as a NO vote. Not voting sends a message that you don’t care about our contracts. To authorize a strike, we must have a YES vote from 2/3 of ALL of our membership, not just those who vote. That is why voting is so important.

What is a proxy?

A written or online authorization empowering another person to vote or act for the signer. When you sign a proxy, you are giving permission for someone to cast your vote for you.

How many proxies may each CRONA member carry?

Nine. That is why we ask that you leave the authorization name blank, in case the CRONA member who collects your proxy has more than nine. That way, CRONA can designate another member to vote the proxy instead, so no one submits too many and all votes count.

Can I vote if I’m on a leave of absence, or on vacation?

Yes! Submit a proxy via CRONA’s website, email or fax if you are not able to vote in person.

What’s it like to vote in person?

Fun! It is a real affirmation of all that CRONA Nurses stand for. It’s an empowering feeling to cast your vote in person with other CRONA Nurses. However, we realize that not everyone can come in person on voting day, and that’s why we have the proxy voting system.

Can I give my proxy to my manager?

No! Your manager is not a CRONA member and is not allowed to carry your proxy. Your manager should not even accept your proxy or discuss your vote with you. This is for CRONA Nurses only.

I’m a new hire; I just started this week. Can I vote?

As long as we have received your Membership Dues Authorization form that makes you a member of CRONA, you may vote. If you were hired very recently and have a question, please check with us at We will have the most up-to-date roster on voting day.

Why are you only accepting faxed proxies until 5:00 p.m. on April 7, accepting online and email faxes until 8:00 p.m. on April 7th, but in-person voting ends at 9:45 p.m.?

Because our printer and fax machine are at our office in Redwood City, and the vote is at a different location. We need to make sure there is time to get your proxy processed before voting ends.

Why is there a P____ V____ on the proxy?

That’s for the internal use of the people who process the votes. You may ignore it.

Why doesn’t the proxy have a YES/NO place to fill in my vote?

Because when you give someone your proxy, you authorize the holder of your proxy to vote for you.

If we vote to authorize the Executive Board to call for a strike, does that mean we should prepare to go on strike?

Every time CRONA Nurses enter negotiations, we should all consider preparations to go on strike. That is part of what it means to be in a union – that we may be called upon to stand up for what we need. It is a good idea to consider where you would like to seek alternate work during a potential strike, or if you would prefer to not work elsewhere during a strike.

Who determines whether or not there will be a strike?

The CRONA membership. CRONA’s Bylaws call for a 2/3 vote (or 66.6%) of the entire membership to pass a strike vote. If you do not vote, it is a “No” vote.

Who decides whether to have a strike vote?

The CRONA Executive Board, with input from the Negotiation Team, decides to call a strike vote if the Board determines that the negotiations are not making significant progress.