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20,000 Nurses Go On Strike In California Over Ebola Scare


Two-day strikes starting Tuesday that affect nearly 20,000 registered nurses at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics, a Sutter hospital in Tracy, and Watsonville Community Hospital kicking off a wave of protests at 15 states and the District of Columbia over eroding patient care conditions symbolized by inadequate Ebola safeguards at most U.S. hospitals.

Kaiser RNs and nurse practitioners will be on strike at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning in Antioch, Fremont, Fresno, Oakland, Redwood City, Richmond, Roseville, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, San Leandro, San Rafael, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, South Sacramento, South San Francisco, Stockton, Vacaville, Vallejo, Walnut Creek. Large noon rallies will be held at Kaiser Oakland and Kaiser South Sacramento.

Tuesday's strikes, which have a particular focus on patient care concerns from safe staffing to cuts in patient services to safe patient handling practices.

On Wednesday, November 12, California RNs will join with nurses and allies in 14 other states and the District of Columbia to step up the call for improved safeguards in the face of the deadly Ebola virus. In California, in addition to Kaiser, Sutter Tracy and Watsonville, nurses will also be picketing at hospitals that are part of Dignity Health, Sutter, St. Joseph Health System, Memorial Care, and the University of California medical centers.

For striking nurses, the failure to secure Ebola safeguards symbolizes what nurses see as a steady erosion in care standards that increasingly put patients as well as nurses and other frontline health workers at risk.

“Nurses, who have been willing to stand by the patients whether it's the flu, whether it's Ebola, whether it's cancer, are now being asked to put themselves in harm's way unprotected, unguarded," said NNU Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro, in a press conference announcing the actions.

On patient care issues, Kaiser RNs have cited cuts in hospital services at a number of Kaiser hospitals, sharp restrictions on admitting patients for hospital care or early discharge of patients who still need hospitalization.

"In our Emergency Department,” said Kaiser Redwood City RN Sheila Rowe today, “we are holding patients who should be admitted to the hospital.  These elderly patients are kept on uncomfortable gurneys for many hours, unable to rest or sleep because of the noise and influx of patients."

Kaiser RN Katy Roemer told reporters over the weekend that Kaiser nurses are “not seeing the resources we need on a daily basis to provide safe care. We are going out on strike about patient safety issues.”

“Our call for a strike speaks loudly and clearly that we want management to stop their stalling in bargaining our first contract, stop the unfair labor practices, and provide the safeguards and resources needed to deliver safe patient care.  It's high time to listen to the nurses,” said Sutter Tracy RN Dotty Nygard.

On Ebola, what NNU is demanding is the optimal personal protective equipment for nurses and other caregivers who interact with Ebola patients. That means full-body hazmat suits that meet the American Society for Testing and Materials F1670 standard for blood penetration, F1671 standard for viral penetration, and that leave no skin exposed or unprotected, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved powered air purifying respirators with an assigned protection factor of at least 50.

Second, that all facilities provide continuous, rigorous interactive training for RNs and other health workers who might encounter an Ebola patient, that includes practice putting on and taking off the hazmat suits where some of the greatest risk of infection can occur.

California Actions

Tuesday, November 11 – all picket lines 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. all actions Kaiser unless noted

Wednesday November 12. Picketing and rallies

Pickets continue at all the same locations where RNs are on strike November 11.

Additional Actions:

Hospital picketing:



Post date: 2014-11-13 09:57:00
Post date GMT: 2014-11-13 17:57:00
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