NUHW joins CNA in protesting Kaiser service and staffing cut

KaiserDecember 21, 2013

Members of NUHW’s Integrated Behavioral Health Sciences and Optical chapters joined about five hundred RNs from the California Nurses Association in the streets of Oakland today to protest Kaiser’s staffing policies and to advocate for the safety and care of their patients.

The group, many of whom were dressed in red and wearing Santa hats, met at CNA’s headquarters at 2000 Franklin Street for a toy and food drive, followed by a series of speeches by CNA executive director Rose Ann DeMore and other CNA leaders, as well as state assemblymember Nancy Skinner and NUHW president Sal Rosselli.

Soon the gathered throng, chanting and singing, headed out into the street and marched the few blocks to Kaiser Permanente’s national headquarters, where they regaled the unseen Kaiser brass behind the building’s mirrored windows with Christmas carols—complete with customized lyrics expressing displeasure with Kaiser’s policies.

Nurses are protesting numerous Kaiser policies, including the closure of Kaiser-Hayward’s pediatrics unit and drastic reductions in services at Kaiser Manteca—cuts that force Kaiser patients to travel greater distances to access care.

Though it has brought in $2 billion in profit for the fourth consecutive year, Kaiser is also proposing a cancellation policy, meaning that nurses will be sent home without pay when a hospital’s patient census drops. “When there are no fires, firefighters still get paid,” said one CNA representative. “When there’s no crime, police officers are still on the job. Nurses need to stay on the job!”

After a spirited rally at Kaiser’s national headquarters, the nurses and NUHW leaders marched to Kaiser’s regional headquarters on Franklin Street and repeated the cycle of Christmas carols before concluding their march.