Hundreds of Bay Area nurses spent the day before Christmas walking picket lines in front of Bay Area hospitals Monday in an ongoing dispute over wages, benefits and patient-care issues.

The strike by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United involved nine hospitals in San Jose and the East Bay.

Seven are affiliated with Sutter Health, including three Alta Bates Summit Medical Center facilities in Oakland and Berkeley, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, San Leandro Hospital, Sutter Delta in Antioch and Sutter Solano in Vallejo.

Registered nurses also walked off the job at two San Jose facilities affiliated with the Hospital Corporation of America: Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center.

Many of the Sutter nurses will return to work on Christmas Day, but Sutter Solano plans to lock out its striking nurses until Saturday, said union spokeswoman Liz Jacobs.

HCA brought in replacement workers on five-day contracts and has also told its striking nurses they will not be allowed back to work until Saturday, Jacobs said.

-- Sandy Kleffman