Nurses take a break from chanting during their protest outside Kaiser's regional headquarters in Pasadena on Friday, September 23, 2011. (Ashley Bailey/KPCC)
About 200 Southland nurses took their protest to Kaiser’s regional headquarters in Pasadena on Friday. They were part of a 3-day walk-out that union nurses across the state have undertaken to protest cuts to health care and retirement benefits in their new labor contract.
Nurses in red shirts lined the street outside Kaiser Permanente’s office chanting and playing drums as passing drivers honked their car horns in support.
Irma Dufelmeier was one of the nurses. She works at Kaiser’s Los Angeles Medical Center on Sunset Boulevard. Dufelmeier said she’ll return to work next week, but that doesn’t mean she’ll stop supporting her union’s effort against Kaiser.
“We’ve been bargaining with them for over 18 months and up to now, we still don’t have a fair contract and we’re fighting for our patients, our friends, our families so we can have good health care.”
John Borsos joined the nurses at the Pasadena protest. He’s an executive with the National Union of Health Care Workers. He said nurses also protested at Kaiser’s LA Medical Center.
“There were several more hundred at the hospital this morning,” he said. “As you can hear and you can see, the participation has been extraordinarily high for all three days of this strike.”
Kaiser spokesman John Nelson said the company has made progress in contract negotiations with the union – progress he hopes will continue at the bargaining table.
“The strike was just unnecessary and counterproductive We think the bargaining should happen and the negotiation should happen at the bargaining table,” he said.
Both parties plan to reconvene for more contract talks over the next couple of weeks. The nurses plan to return to work Saturday morning.