Registered nurses at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center will begin a week-long strike Tuesday to press for higher wages and increased staffing in what would be their first collective bargaining contract since joining the California Nurses Association last summer.
Karen Chan, Kaiser division director with the California Nurses Association, said that the 1,200 nurses going on strike will picket every day of the week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will also engage with the community to openly oppose Kaiser's decision to build a medical school in Pasadena with a petition.
Roselle Gatdula has been an RN at Kaiser's L.A. Medical Center for seven years. She said on the floor she works there are upwards of 30 patients at a time, and sometimes only two available thermometers.
"They can afford to sponsor the Super Bowl ... and now they want to build a medical school," Gatdula told KPCC. "How can they say they don’t have the money to buy basic equipment?"
The union is also protesting a wage freeze at the L.A. Medical Center.
Chan said that the California Nurses Association met with Kaiser officials last Thursday, but the company did not accept the union's proposals.
"We believe that contract negotiations should take place directly at the bargaining table and not on the street," Kaiser Permanente said in a statement.
The one-week strike is "unjustified," Kaiser argued, saying it made its RNs an offer last month "that would keep them among the best paid nurses in Southern California – just like the rest of our nurses in our other hospitals."