NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (KTXL) — Nurses at more than 20 Kaiser Permanente medical facilities will be going on a two-day strike, the California Nurses Association said Thursday.
According to the union, more than 21,000 nurses will go on strike on Nov. 21 and 22 to protest “workplace health and safety and chronic short staffing.”
The union said it was announcing the strike 10 days in advance to allow hospitals to make plans for patient care.
According to the union, contract negotiations between it and Kaiser have been taking place since June. The union said it is asking for minimum staffing guidelines, increased hiring and training, and protections against subcontracting and outsources.
“We always want to give our patients the best care, but Kaiser refuses to provide the resources we need to do our jobs safely,” said CNA President Cathy Kennedy, RN in the neonatal ICU unit at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center. “We are chronically short-staffed, which means patients are waiting longer for care. This is unacceptable and unconscionable when Kaiser made more than $14 billion during the first two years of the pandemic.”
Kaiser Permanente said it disagrees with the union’s assertion that staffing levels are unsafe though it also said that the company is “not immune” to staffing shortages facing much of the country. However, Kaiser said it believes bargaining is moving along and that a strike is unnecessary.
“We are committed to reaching an agreement, and do not believe there is any reason for a strike, given the many agreements we have already reached in bargaining, and the generous economic proposal we are putting on the table,” Kaiser said in a statement.
In 2004, California became the first state to require hospitals to meet certain registered-nurse-to-patient staffing ratios for certain types of care. For example, the law requires that there be at least one registered nurse for every two patients in intensive/critical care. The same ratio applies to nurses and “active” labor and delivery patients.