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Kaiser Nurses Picketing 4 Bay Area Hospitals Over Staffing

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Nurses at seven Kaiser Permanente hospitals across California will hold pickets on Wednesday, charging that the company hasn't shored up staff as it promised despite rising costs for patients, according to the nurses' union.

The pickets are planned in Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Vallejo in the Bay Area, as well as Los Angeles, Modesto and South Sacramento, officials with the California Nurses Association said Tuesday.

The nurses say the terms of their 2014 contract are not being implemented properly, with the hospital system not increasing its staff as promised despite rising costs and increased membership.

"This is not just a broken promise to nurses, it's a broken promise to patients," one nurse, Cathy Kennedy, said in a union statement.  "It's very concerning that Kaiser, a corporation which is earning such high profits off of healthcare, refuses to invest in staffing to safely care for its patients.

But Kaiser, in its own statement Tuesday, said that since agreeing to the contract it has increased the total number of nurses it employs by 3,000, bringing the total nursing staff to 51,000 nationwide.

"CNA's decision to picket at our facilities is unfortunate," Kaiser vice president of human resources Gay Westfall said in a statement.

"We believe contract implementation issues should be addressed locally with management and not in a manner designed to create unnecessary concern among our patients, members, and employees," Westfall said.

Wednesday's action is not a strike and the hospitals should be open as normal.

The pickets are scheduled at 2 p.m. at Oakland Medical Center at 3600 Broadway, at 3:30 p.m. at San Francisco Medical Center at 2425 Geary St., at 2 p.m. at Santa Clara Medical Center at 710 Lawrence Expressway, and at 2 p.m. at Vallejo Medical Center at 975 Sereno Drive.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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