June 18, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Nurses In Los Angeles Strike Due To Cuts In Health Coverage

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courtesy image

More than 5,000 nurses will stage strikes in the Los Angeles area and around the state tomorrow and Friday to press for higher staffing levels and what they call safer conditions for patients.

“Management demands for cuts in health coverage for RNs and their families are also a major focus for nurses … especially RNs who work for the Sutter Health chain,” according to the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United.

According to the unions, their members “are calling on hospitals to stop endangering patients by implementing safe staffing levels and taking steps to retain experienced RNs. They are also demanding policies that give RNs a stronger voice in patient care delivery.”

Talks are scheduled today at one of the Los Angeles area hospitals targeted in the strike, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, but the nurses are doubtful that hospital officials wish to resolve differences “after hospital officials surrounded the facility with fence barricades on Monday,” according to the unions.

In Los Angeles County, a two-day strike is scheduled Thursday and Friday at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center on Sunset Boulevard and for one day on Friday at Providence’s Torrance hospital and Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

Nurses will also be on strike Thursday at five Sutter corporation hospitals in Northern California — in Auburn, Burlingame, Roseville, Santa Rosa and Tracy.

Union officials said picketing would take place at Kaiser at 4867 Sunset Blvd. starting at 7 a.m., and a rally would be held there at noon Thursday and Friday. On Friday, picketing will start at 8 a.m. at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance at 4101 Torrance Blvd. and at Providence Saint John’s Health Center at 2121 Santa Monica Blvd.

“We want patient safety regulations and protections added to our contract. Patients come first,” said Intensive Care Unit RN Heather Garrant, one of 700 RNs at Providence Health’s Little Company of Mary Torrance.

A statement by Kaiser Foundation Hospitals said there are varying allegations by nurses in various parts of the country on why they are staging simultaneous strikes over the coming days.

“While we cannot speak to the actions taking place at non Kaiser Permanente facilities, regarding labor activities at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC), this strike is simply a tool the California Nurses Association (CNA) has decided to use, to influence the votes of nurses regarding their choice for labor representation,” the statement read. “The CNA is one of three unions that will appear on the ballot in an election yet to be scheduled. The CNA does not currently represent the nurses at LAMC. It is unfortunate that one of the organizing tactics chosen by this union is to call on nurses to walk away from their patients. We believe it is entirely inappropriate to attempt to disrupt patient care or service as part of a union organizing effort.”

The statement said Kaiser Foundation Hospitals respect the rights of its employees to choose whether they want to be represented by a union and, if so, which union will represent them.

“We will remain neutral in the representation election, which will be scheduled and conducted by the National Labor Relations Board,” the statement said. “We have plans in place to ensure we will have adequate levels of quality nursing care available to meet the needs of our patients, should some nurses heed the call of this union and decide to walk off the job. Nurses may also choose to cross the picket line and report to work.”

The statement said this strike action is not about quality or adequate staffing.

“The quality of care our teams provide at LAMC has never been higher,” the statement said. “In fact, just this week, the Los Angeles Medical Center and all Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern California received an “A” grade (Spring 2015 Hospital Safety Score) from the Leapfrog Group, an independent advocacy group of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage. Also, last year for the sixth consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente received an excellent rating, four stars, in the “HMO Provides Recommended Care” category of the 2014 HMO Quality Report Card released by the California Office of the Patient Advocate. Additionally, our nursing staff ratios meet or exceed state guidelines. This strike is not about staffing, workload, or anything related to quality. It’s about this union’s inability to use any organizing tools beyond the counterproductive, out-of-date, and inappropriate tactics they have used in just about every situation, for decades.”

The statement ended by saying this strike was “unnecessary and counterproductive.”

“We have asked our nurses to reject the union’s call to walk off the job,” it read. “It is critical that we work collaboratively, together so that we can continue to provide high quality care for our patients.”

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