Health Care Workers in Los Angeles Arrested During Protest Over Staffing Crisis

The Labor Day motion exterior a Kaiser Permanente facility got here amid an ongoing strike authorization vote.

Dozens of healthcare staff have been arrested in Los Angeles on Monday after sitting on the street exterior of a Kaiser Permanente facility to demand that suppliers tackle dangerously low staffing ranges at hospitals in California and throughout the nation.

The civil disobedience got here as the employees ready for what could possibly be the most important healthcare strike in U.S. historical past. Late final month, 85,000 Kaiser Permanente staff represented by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions started voting on whether or not to authorize a strike over the nonprofit hospital system’s alleged unfair labor practices throughout ongoing contract negotiations.

The present contract expires on September 30.

“We’re burnt out, stretched skinny, and fed up after years of the pandemic and power quick staffing,” Datosha Williams, a service consultant at Kaiser Permanente South Bay, mentioned Monday. “Healthcare suppliers are failing staff and sufferers, and we’re at disaster ranges in our hospitals and medical facilities.”

“Our employers soak up billions of {dollars} in income, but they refuse to securely workers their amenities or pay a lot of their staff a residing wage,” Williams added. “We’re ready to do no matter it takes, even get arrested in an act of civil disobedience, to face up for our sufferers.”

Kaiser Permanente reported practically $3.3 billion in web revenue throughout the first half of 2023. In 2021, Kaiser CEO Greg Adams introduced in additional than $16 million in whole compensation.

In response to the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, the hospital system “has investments of $113 billion within the U.S. and overseas, together with in fossil fuels, casinos, for-profit prisons, alcohol corporations, army weapons, and extra.”

Healthcare staff, in the meantime, say they’re being overworked and underpaid, and lots of are struggling to make ends meet amid excessive prices of residing.

“We’ve got healthcare staff leaving left and proper, and we’ve company greed that’s attempting to fake that this staffing scarcity will not be actual,” Jessica Cruz, a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Middle, told LAist.

“We’re risking arrest, and the rationale why we’re doing it’s that we’d like everybody to know that this disaster is actual,” mentioned Cruz, who was among the many 25 staff arrested throughout the Labor Day protest.

A recent survey of tens of hundreds of healthcare staff throughout California discovered that 83% reported understaffing of their departments, and 65% mentioned they’ve witnessed or heard of care being delayed or denied as a consequence of workers shortages.

Moreover, greater than 40% of the employees surveyed mentioned they really feel pressured to neglect security protocols and skip breaks or meals as a consequence of quick staffing.

“It’s heartbreaking to see our sufferers undergo from lengthy wait instances for the care they want, all as a result of Kaiser received’t put affected person and employee security first,” Paula Coleman, a scientific laboratory assistant at Kaiser Permanente in Englewood, Colorado, mentioned in an announcement late final month. “We could have no alternative however to vote to strike if Kaiser received’t cut price in good religion and allow us to give sufferers the standard care they deserve.”

An area NBC affiliate reported Monday that 99% of Colorado Kaiser staff represented by SEIU Native 105 have voted to authorize a strike.

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