After a week-long strike in an attempt to secure better pay and increased staffing, nurses at a Los Angeles hospital returned to work on Tuesday, March 22nd.
On March 15th, roughly 500 nurses represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA) took the picket line in front of the Kaiser Permanente-owned Los Angeles Medical Center to begin a week-long protest after failed negotiations between the union and Kaiser Permanente. Hundreds of additional nurses represented by the CNA joined in the protest over the next several days.
Throughout the protest, nurses chanted “fair contract now!” while holding signs that said “Kaiser RNs are the Heart of Patient Care” and “Striking for Our Patients and Our Future”, among others.
The protest did not resolve the disputes between the CNA and Kaiser. Los Angeles Medical Center Nurses, who returned to work following the planned seven-day protest, say they are overworked and understaffed, often having to give care in units where they are not as knowledgeable. As a result, patient care at the hospital suffers. But even with the heavy workload, nurses say they are underpaid and have been locked in a contract freeze with Kaiser for six years.
Higher ups at Kaiser disagree with the nurses’ complaints. In an interview, Patti Clausen, chief nurse executive at Los Angeles Medical Center, said Kaiser offered its nurses a wage increase that was “at least 15 percent higher than the market in Southern California” in February. Clausen also told ABC7 the nurses’ accusations of understaffing at the medical center are “simply not true.”
Kaiser said they are open to new negotiations with the CNA, which represents 75% of the nurses at Los Angeles Medical Center.
Founded in 1953 , Los Angeles Medical Center is a massive facility with 464 beds and 23,369 admissions reported admissions in the most recent year, according to US Health News. The hospital has dozens of departments and specialties, ranging from genetics to diet and nutrition.