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Kaiser nurses in Los Angeles wage 1-day strike

Kaiser nurses in Los Angeles wage 1-day strike

Dive Brief:

  • A thousand nurses are waging a one-day strike Thursday at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center after being unable to reach a deal with the system on new contracts, according to a release from the California Nurses Association, which represents the nurses.
  • The nurses want measures in new contracts that ensure they have adequate supplies and ancillary staff, and the two sides have been in negotiations since September 2021, according to the union.
  • Kaiser has contingency plans in place and does not expect the strike to impact scheduled procedures and services, according to a statement from the system.

Dive Insight:

As more collective bargaining agreements come up for expiration, nurses and other healthcare workers are using the opportunities to negotiate measures in new contracts they say will improve their working conditions in the years following the first major waves of COVID-19 infections.

A number of nurse strikes have occurred so far this year in California, including one involving 5,000 nurses at two Stanford hospitals in Northern California and another involving 8,000 nurses at 15 Sutter facilities.

Similar to those nurses, the nurses at Kaiser’s LAMC are demanding measures they say will improve staffing conditions. Key asks include contract language allowing for nurses to take adequate meal and rest breaks with the addition of more ancillary staff.

Nurses are often unable to take meal breaks during their 12 and a half hour shifts because no other nurses are available to relieve them, the union said.

Another concern nurses want addressed is a lack of adequate supplies, as shortages of syringes and other tools to start IVs take nurses away from patient bedsides to find essential supplies. More ancillary staff could help assist nurses with those issues, the union said.

Kaiser employs and has contracts with over 160,000 union-represented employees, and said it looks forward to continued discussions at the bargaining table to reach an agreement with the LAMC nurses.

Last year, as many as 28,400 Kaiser employees across Southern California threatened to strike while negotiating new contracts.That strike was averted when the two sides reached an agreement just before the planned work stoppage. It had the potential to significantly disrupt operations at the system’s 14 hospitals and more than 200 clinics in that area.