Calif. Nursing Strike Could be Largest in History

18 Nov, 2022 F.J. Thomas

                               

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – More than 21,000 nurse practitioners and registered nurses in northern California at 21 Kaiser Permanente Hospitals are coordinating a two-day strike on November 21st and 22nd, according to a recent report from HealthLeaders. Additionally, nurses from the Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center will join the strike, creating what some are calling the largest private-sector nursing strike in the history of the U.S.

 

The decision comes after California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) passed a near-unanimous vote. Earlier today, the NNU announced a press conference will be held on November 17th.  The announcement comes the heels of a mental health worker strike that took place in August, citing administrative burdens, staffing shortages, and delays in patient care.

Negotiations between the union and Kaiser were initiated before June, however an agreement has not been reached. Citing workplace health and safety complaints, as well as chronic short staffing, the union has pushed for minimum staffing guidelines that also includes increased hiring and training, as well as job protections from subcontracting.

Since the start of the pandemic, healthcare has seen an increase in contract or travel nurses. According to several reports, contract nurses doing the same job as employed nurses make three times the hourly wage. In some cases, the sign on bonus for contract labor has more than doubled. To add insult to injury, around half of nurses believe that the increase in contract labor ultimately reduces the quality of patient care.

CNA President Cathy Kennedy, RN, cited the $14 billion revenue made by Kaiser in the midst of the pandemic as partial justification. In a statement released to HealthLeaders, "We always want to give our patients the best care, but Kaiser refuses to provide the resources we need to do our jobs safely. This is unacceptable and unconscionable when Kaiser made more than $14 billion during the first two years of the pandemic."

Kaiser issued a rebuttal statement, “We put an offer on the table, which includes higher annual raises for our nurses than we have been able to offer for decades – 21.25% in wage increases over 4 years of the contract.” Kaiser goes on to say that the entire country is experiencing staff shortages, and since 2021 they have hired 3,300 additional nurses of which 650 were new graduates. Additionally, per their statement Kaiser staffing levels either exceed or meet state mandates, and they have one of the lowest turnover rates in the country.

According to yet another report from the Guardian, it seems the U.S. is not the only country with nurses on strike. In England, nurses are going to on strike due to a lack of a raises after a request for 5 percent above inflation pay was denied. It’s estimated that the strike will delay surgeries of over 3 million people waiting for their procedures. 


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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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