Sutter Health screwed up paychecks, shorted thousands of workers on wages, unions say

·2 min read
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Thousands of registered nurses and other health care workers at Sacramento-based Sutter Health blasted their employer over payroll errors that they say have shorted them on wages for more than a month.

“I have worked for Sutter Health for 11 years,” said Amy Erb, a registered nurse at Sutter California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. “We work hard to provide our patients with the best care. The very least Sutter can do is to accurately compensate us for our time. It is outrageous that so many nurses are missing pay, and Sutter still has not fixed these terrible mistakes.”

Angeline Sheets, Sutter’s director of media relations and social strategy, said the company recently implemented a new system for human resources and payroll, describing the upgrade as complex and significant.

She released a statement that read: “The vast majority – tens of thousands – of our roughly 53,000 employees received their paychecks as expected, but data discrepancy issues that occurred during the configuration from our old system to the new system resulted in some employees not being paid accurately. Our team is working hard to correct these issues as quickly as possible and are making good progress.”

The California Department of Industrial Relations said workers have the right to file a wage claim when their employers do not pay them the wages or benefits they are owed. That claim starts the process to collect on those unpaid wages or benefits. The claims can be filed online, by email, mail or in person with the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

Two unions representing many of the Sutter workers — the California Nurses Association and its affiliate, Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union — told The Bee their members immediately reported the errors but Sutter had not yet given them their lost wages.

Instead, the mistakes have continued with every payroll cycle in July and August, union officials said, and Sutter has yet to confirm that the errors have been corrected or that there is any plan to fix the new system. The new system, they said, is called Workday.

“We are incredibly frustrated that Sutter has not corrected all these mistakes,” said Carol Hawthorne-Johnson at Sutter Eden Medical Center. “I can’t believe that we’ve gone through multiple pay periods already and the payroll errors are still happening. This is not right. The payroll errors must stop now.”

Erb, Hawthorne-Johnson and other union members said they would like to see the prior payroll system restored until Sutter can correct the problems with Workday. The workers also demanded they be reimbursed for any financial hardship that has been caused, including payment of any fees incurred for overdrafts, late payments and other penalties.