1,200 RNs at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles begin walkout

Registered nurses at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, represented by the California Nurses Association, will begin a seven-day strike March 15 as they push for their first contract as union members, according to a report published by the Los Angeles Daily News.

The walkout will affect 1,200 RNs who voted last summer to join the CNA, the union said. The union said it is seeking an agreement that resolves concerns about safe patient care staffing, as well as economic improvements to assure the hospital is able to retain experienced RNs and recruit new nurses.  

"If Kaiser is planning on using this medical center as its teaching hospital for their medical school, it is critical to improve patient care conditions especially for our region's sickest babies and kids, end floating and provide for a fair contract for nurses," Aisha Ealey, a neonatal intensive care unit RN at the hospital, said in a statement.

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente recently announced plans to open a medical school in Pasadena, Calif., 10 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The system plans to break ground on the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine in 2017, and the first class of students is set to arrive in 2019.

In a statement, Kaiser Permanente called the union's planned strike "a disappointing tactic to try to influence the bargaining of a first time contract."

Kaiser Permanente went on to say it is "committed to preserving and strengthening the excellent relationships we have with our unions," and "believe that contract negotiations should take place directly at the bargaining table and not on the street."

"Actions such as these by the recently elected CNA union do nothing to further the progress of negotiations," Kaiser Permanente added. "Worse, this strike is completely unjustified, given the excellent offer we made in bargaining last month. We've proposed wages for these nurses that would keep them among the best paid nurses in Southern California — just like the rest of our nurses in our other hospitals. CNA's response to this significant increase was to call a strike — before we'd even had a chance to discuss the proposal at the bargaining table."

Kaiser Permanente officials said they have a plan in place to make sure patient care is not affected by the strike.


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