Tuesday , June 25 2024

Kaiser nurses strike continues

Nurses are on strike at various Kaiser hospitals in the state.

“We got to think about the patients, and so that’s why we are out here. We’re out here for our patients,” said a nurse on the scene.

The nurses are demanding better protection, more training and better staffing under a union contract.

Kaiser says it’s not affecting the care here the hospital hired temporary nurses to fill in for 2 days, while these nurses stand their ground on the picket line.

“We are not a cheap labor work force, you can’t throw us away,” said Amy Arlund, a registered nurse. She’s pulling a 12 hour shift on the street and on the picket line  outside Kaiser Permanente in Fresno. “We have no problem protecting these patients but we deserve to be protected when we do so.”

She’s a member of the California Nurses Association, a union at odds with the hospital over contract issues. On Tuesday, 18,000 nurses across the state walked out of work to demand change, better safety equipment and training.

Kaiser stands by it’s quality of care and protocol to handle infectious diseases. The hospital was also prepared to handle the strike. Celia Ryan is a registered nurse and the area quality leader. She says there are non-union nurses, filling in for the one’s outside and taking care of the patients.

“We also have replacement nurses who are very highly qualified and are gonna provide the same high-level care that the patients deserves,” said Ryan. She adds she’s disappointed with the union’s leadership and that there’s a better way to handle this. “We should be having honest and open communications when we have issues so we can resolve them,” she said.

Arlund says the hospital stalled negotiations for three months. The contract has expired and she’s ready to pull another 12 hour shift to get both sides, back to the bargaining table. The nurses say this isn’t about money. They’ll be back out here in the morning, but they’re expected to be back at work on Thursday.

Joe Ybarra reporting in Fresno.

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