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Feature Story

Updated Statement on Strike by Nurses Union

November 11, 2014

Kaiser Permanente text treatment logo

5:30 p.m., November 11, 2014

We are disappointed that the National Nurses United/California Nurses Association (NNU/CNA), has called for our nurses in Northern California to walk out on our patients on November 11 and November 12. At Kaiser Permanente, our members and patients come first, so we are prepared to deliver the care our patients need during the two-day walkout called by the union. We have contingency plans in place and are ready to operate with normal business hours and services. Some elective procedures and non-urgent appointments have been rescheduled, and we have reached out to our members to apologize for the inconvenience, and reschedule at their convenience.

We continue to be perplexed about why the nurses’ union is striking. For weeks, union leadership has claimed to the public that this strike is about Ebola. But the fact is Kaiser Permanente is well prepared, well trained and well equipped to handle potential or diagnosed Ebola cases. We have repeatedly asked union leadership to work with us on our Ebola strategy, which they have refused to do.

For weeks, our teams have been engaged nonstop to develop Ebola preparedness protocols and workflows, hold practice drills, train staff, and deploy all of the necessary protective equipment to the right places. We continue to meet and exceed all national guidelines and are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of each nurse, physician and staff member who may be called upon to provide compassionate, high-quality care for a patient with the Ebola virus.

In the last day or so, the union has changed its message and now says to the public that the strike is about “staffing.” Just as the union’s Ebola message is confusing because it is not supported by the facts, this new reason for striking by the union also isn’t true. We believe, and our nurses know, that Kaiser Permanente is one of the best-staffed health care systems in California and the nation. Our nurse staffing always meets, and often exceeds, state-required levels.

It’s not surprising that many of our nurses have reported to us that they are confused about why their union is calling for a strike.

The fact is, the different reasons the union leaders have given for calling a walk out are not supported by the facts — either in our medical centers or at the bargaining table. We have responded to all of the union’s negotiating proposals, and we look forward to more bargaining sessions. We are absolutely committed to keeping Kaiser Permanente the best place for our nurses to work, and we have assured them of that commitment.

We are proud of Kaiser Permanente nurses because we know they represent the very best in care delivery, and dedicate their own lives to a profession that makes lives better. We need our nurses, who are at the heart of how we provide our high-quality and compassionate care, where they are needed most every day, at our patients’ side.