Dozens of unionized nurses working at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center planned a 24-hour strike as they negotiate their new labor contract with hospital leaders.
The picketing began at 7 a.m., and was expected to last until 5 a.m. Organizers also planned a rally at the Medical Center at noon.
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, which represents Kaiser Permanente's nurses, disclosed that the strike is to address a variety of concerns including safe staffing and patient care.
"In the last four months, we have seen 50 nurses leave our hospital due to the poor working conditions that put patient care in jeopardy," said Tinny Abogado, who has worked at Los Angeles Medical Center for 20 of her 26 years as a nurse. "I have spent two decades at this hospital caring for this community. It pains me to see experienced nurses leave our hospital."
"When they walk out the door they take knowledge and expertise that is critical in caring for our patients. Nurses are leaving because they work 12-hour shifts without a break. They reach for supplies and they are just not there. Kaiser made $8.1 billion in profits last year, they have enough money to make sure we have syringes when we need them, ancillary staff to help care for our patients, and relief nurses to provide RNs with meal breaks," the statement continued.
In a response to the day-long strike Kaiser Permanente officials released a statement that read in part:
"We are disappointed that the California Nurses Association (CNA), which represents approximately 1,200 nurses at our Los Angeles Medical Center, is calling on our nurses to walk away from their patients' bedsides. It is unfortunate the union has chosen to attempt to disrupt patient care and service as a bargaining tactic, especially during a pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an incredibly challenging and stressful time to work on the front lines of health care. We are extremely grateful for our Kaiser Permanente health care employees, whose commitment to providing care over the last two-and-a-half years has been nothing short of inspiring."
The statement also continued to note that Kaiser Permanente is "a best place to work," as employees are offered tuition assistance fellowships and residences for future hires.
"We look forward to continued discussions at the bargaining table because it is the best way to resolve differences and reach a mutually beneficial agreement," the statement concluded.
California Nurses Association represents more than 1,000 nurses at the medical center.
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