Union plans largest U.S. nurse strike at Kaiser, Sutter Health

With ongoing nursing shortages, hospitals have been struggling to fill gaps in providing care, as well deal with nurses dissatisfied with resulting staffing levels. But even the largest and most profitable health systems in California may find that avoiding nurse staffing issues can lead to a strike, further compromising care.

For instance, 23,000 nurses at 34 Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern and Central California plan to walk off the job this Thursday, Sept. 22, reports the Sacramento Bee.

The nurse strike, hailed as the largest in U.S. history, stems from failed negotiations between Sacramento-based Sutter Health and its registered nurses represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA). Sutter sought to reduce healthcare and retirement coverage, as well as ax paid sick leave and the ability to advocate for patients.

In an unexpected move of solidarity, Kaiser's CNA-represented nurses in Northern and Central California are joining the picket lines in a "sympathy strike," despite having reached a deal with Kaiser effective Sept. 1, notes BeyondChron.

Such a large-scale mass protest could disrupt patient care. "They're putting access to care at over 30 hospitals at risk," Jan Emerson-Shea, a vice president at the Sacramento-based California Hospital Association, told the Sacramento Bee.

Future collaboration between labor unions could leave hospitals leaders uneasy, as a ruling last month may make it much easier for healthcare workers to unionize.

For more:
- read the Sacramento Bee article
- read the BeyondChron article

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