Unions are a fact of life for many nurses. Unions in most states aren’t that large, so they don’t garner a lot of attention, but California has tens of millions of people. So, when the National Union of Healthcare WOrkers, the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United decide they would go on strike, it means that some 9,000 nurses might refuse to work.
According to California Healthline, this number could be tripled thanks to sympathy strikes from related employees. And the nurses argue that they have legitimate reasons for their complaints, specifically because of the health of Kaiser Permanente’s business records, as well as benefits issues.
Oddly, for a company that made some $2 billion in profit, Kaiser is talking about limiting health insurance and sick leave, according to the news provider. And their arguments about financial health seem a bit hollow. Sutter Health, another hospital provider, is seeing even higher profit margins, and still wants to re-negotiate the terms of their agreement with nurses.
“We’re very concerned about Sutter’s positions. This is one of the largest, most profitable hospital chains in California,” said Charles Idelson, a spokesman for the CNA, told the Sacramento Bee. “This is not the March of Dimes, this is a corporation and they’ve taken a very hard line with RNs.”
Overall, the newspaper notes that operating income and revenues doubled in hospitals, and their margins remain very high. On the other hand, salaries for nurses have risen 20 percent over the same decade (a number that does account for inflation).
It shouldn’t be too big a problem for either healthcare system, who have already put in place plans for temporary employees beginning September 24. It’s not uncommon for strikes of thousands of nurses to occur in California either, with 4,000 to 9,000 nurses regularly striking each year since about 2005.
For those looking for nursing jobs, it’s a stark reminder that when they get hired, they may have signed on for more than just providing care to their patients.
Tags: California Healthline, California Nurses Association and National Nurses United, Healthcare Provider, Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, National Union of Healthcare WOrkers, Nurse, Strike, Sutter Health, Union