Kaiser Nurses Joined by Dolores Huerta Tonight in Candlelight Vigil for a Fair Contract

NewsDecember 20, 2010

Workers and community leaders call on Kaiser to stop breaking the law and treat caregivers fairly

 What: Candlelight vigil for a fair contract

When: Monday, December 20th at 8pm

Where: Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center, 4867 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

Who: Kaiser RNs and other NUHW healthcare workers, joined by labor legend Dolores Huerta and Rabbi Jonathan Klein of CLUE-LA

Visuals: Somber and dignified gathering of healthcare workers in front of hospital, wearing scrubs and holding candles

Nurses available for interviews in English, Spanish and Tagalog

LOS ANGELES – Tonight, caregivers at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center will lead a candlelight vigil to urge Kaiser Permanente to stop breaking the law and bargain in good faith toward a fair contract that respects workers and protects patients.

Registered Nurses and other union caregivers will be joined in front of the hospital by faith and community leaders including labor icon Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, and Rabbi Jonathan Klein of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.

Kaiser risking patient safety:

Caregivers will protest Kaiser management’s decision to risk patient safety by trying to force overtime on RNs. Kaiser administrators recently proposed to eliminate every protection against forced overtime for Registered Nurses, a policy that would compel RNs coming off of 12-hour shifts to provide direct patient care for additional hours despite their fatigue.

“This isn’t just unfair to caregivers – it’s risky to patients,” said Sybil Yu, a 13-year Registered Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Kaiser LAMC. “Nurses who are overworked and fatigued make mistakes, no matter how experienced, skilled or well-intentioned they are. Kaiser should not be forcing RNs to put patient safety in jeopardy, and they shouldn’t be asking patients to take on that risk.”

Kaiser’s illegal conduct:

Last week, an Administrative Law Judge for the National Labor Relations Board reprimanded Kaiser for violating the law by withholding scheduled raises and benefits from 2,300 RNs and professional caregivers in Southern California who voted to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers, and ordered immediate remedial action. On Friday, a U.S. district court judge followed the NLRB’s orders with a formal injunction.

Administrative Law Judge Schmidt referred to the “massive damage done” to workers’ rights by Kaiser, characterized the company’s justification for its actions as “lack(ing) merit” and “without legal foundation,” and called its cited legal precedents “misplaced.” Judge Schmidt further admonished Kaiser for its reckless abuse of the legal process, describing the company as belonging to a class of “non-compliant respondents who choose to appeal and appeal in order to avoid their duty to bargain under the Act.”

See the ALJ decision here: http://bit.ly/OrderNLRB

See the injunction here: http://bit.ly/10jInjunction