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  • 1300 CA Nurses Strike Kaiser Permanente Over Severe Understaffing
    Posted On: Jun 23, 2016

    By JoAnne Pow!ers, June 24, 2016

    1300 registered nurses began a four-day strike Thursday morning at Kaiser Permanente’s flagship Los Angeles Medical Center, calling on the health insurance giant to improve staffing for safer patient care.  Members of the California Nurses Association are seeking a contract that will address staffing shortages.  Striking RN Aisha Ealey spoke with Workers Independent News from the picket line:

    [Aisha Ealey]: “Right now we’re severely, severely understaffed.  Almost every unit in the hospital does not have enough nurses to adequately care for our patients.  We can’t do that safely, and that’s not fair to us or our members that come here for their service.  With the big corporation of Kaiser, they should be able to give us what we need as far as staffing, equipment, training…so that we’re able to give quality patient care.  We’ve been in this battle for a while now with Kaiser.  For us, it seems like the easy fix.  This is a big corporation and they’re profiting so much and they’re making so much, and you can’t hire more people?  You can’t give us the equipment and the staff that we need so that we’re able to get the basic needs done?”

    Kaiser made nearly two billion dollars in profits last year, and the nurses are calling on the company to invest those profits back in the community.  The staffing crisis is so great that nurses are often unable to take their rest and meal breaks:

    [Aisha Ealey]: “If we can’t even get time out to just eat and replenish ourselves, you’re not as sharp.  You don’t catch things as quickly.  Being able to at least be able to step out and have a drink of water, or to relieve our bladders, or whatever the case may be, we need to be able to do that, but a lot of the times we’ll just bite the bullet and just kind of work through it, because we have to keep going…because our patients come first.  A lot of the times we’re out here caring for other people and their families and we’re neglecting ourselves and our own families…and a lot of times our patients don’t even realize what we’re going through.  As nurses we stick together, we have each other’s back, we do what we have to do to get the job…but at the same time, we get tire.  We’re human.  Something has to give.”

    The striking nurses are also seeking equitable wages with other Kaiser nurses in Northern and Central California.  This is the nurses’ second strike since the current contract negotiations began, fighting for patients and their safety:

    [Aisha Ealey]: “The message that I would like to give to Kaiser is: just work with us.  Give us what we need so that we are able to do our jobs.  We don’t want to be out here.  We have to take a stand and we have to do something in order to have our voice heard.  And to get what we need.  If they would only be willing to listen and to cooperate and to give a little, we can avoid this in the future.”

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