June 23, 2016

Statement on strike by California Nurses Association

California Nurses Association strike at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center beginning on June 23 and ending on June 27, 2016.

Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center was notified by the California Nurses Association union of its intent to stage a strike at our medical facility, for four days beginning at 7 a.m. on June 23 and ending at 7 a.m. on June 27, 2016.

This union represents about 1,200 nurses out of the 18,000 nurses at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. CNA won the right to represent this group of employees in an election held in July of 2015. Kaiser Permanente has been bargaining with the union since last fall. We have held 25 bargaining sessions with the union. In late April, Kaiser Permanente provided a comprehensive proposal to which the union never gave substantive feedback. In fact, CNA has not presented a comprehensive wage and benefit proposal on behalf of its LAMC members in the nine months we’ve been in negotiations.

Kaiser Permanente Statement:

This strike by the California Nurses Association will be the second time in three months that CNA leaders are calling upon nurses to walk away from their patients at our Los Angeles Medical Center. This is a disappointing tactic to try to influence the bargaining over a contract by this one union at this one medical facility. We believe it is entirely inappropriate to attempt to disrupt patient care or service as a bargaining tactic.

We have made very good offers to date that will make our LAMC nurses among the highest paid nurses in Southern California. Unfortunately, the CNA bargaining team gave us no meaningful feedback about our most recent proposal, and made no counter proposal to our wage offer. Rather, once again, they handed us a strike notice.

Across California, the CNA union has called an average of five strikes per year over the past five years, affecting 225 health facilities. Actions such as these do nothing constructive. They only create unneeded concern for patients, physicians and staff and delay any progress of negotiations.

We have put in place extensive plans to ensure our LAMC members and patients will continue to receive the same high quality, safe care Kaiser Permanente provides each day. Unfortunately, these strikes cost millions of dollars to the health care system as contingency plans, including the use of highly skilled travelling nurses, must be put in place to assure continued, excellent patient care.

This strike is not about quality or adequate staffing levels. The quality of care our teams at LAMC provide has never been higher. In fact, in 2015, LAMC was named one of the Top 10 Best Hospitals in California by US News and World Report and one of only 34 hospitals nationwide to be rated as "high performing" in all five common inpatient procedures. In addition, our nursing staff ratios meet or exceed state guidelines.

Kaiser Permanente values our nurses, along with all of our care teams. When disagreements do arise, we are not typically at odds with our employees, but, rather, with their union leadership. We believe that such disagreements should be resolved directly at the bargaining table, not through publicity stunts that could potentially harm the member and patient experience. While we support each union member’ rights, we hope they will consider the potential impact to their patients and remain on the job providing care.

Kaiser Permanente has a 70-year legacy of supporting organized labor and we are committed to preserving and strengthening the excellent relationships we have with our unions. As many of our labor unions can attest, their contracts with Kaiser Permanente serve as a model for other health systems and hospitals. In fact, dozens of fair and equitable contracts between Kaiser Permanente and other unions have been finalized during the years various union leaders have failed to earnestly bargain an agreement for the nurses at LAMC. We remain ready and willing to engage in good faith bargaining.