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Healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente picket over claims of unsafe staffing levels and hospital conditions

Dozens of nurses and other medical professionals say low staffing levels are a danger for workers and patients.

SAN DIEGO — Dozens of nurses and other medical professionals gathered outside of Kaiser Permanente facilities in San Diego County to demonstrate against what they say are unsafe hospital conditions on Tuesday.

These demonstrations come as Kaiser Permanente and nurses are in the midst of month-long labor discussions on a new contract.

On August 24, the nurses union voted in favor of authorizing a strike if those labor negotiations fail. 

As reported by CBS 8, the rift between healthcare workers and one of the nation's largest healthcare providers is not new. 

In July 2022, crowds of Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers picketed over the same issues such as low staffing levels, and unsafe working conditions. 

Conditions were made worse, according to the nurses union, as Kaiser Permanente opened their new facility in San Marcos. 

Nurses say they alerted company executives about the unsafe conditions but have done nothing to address it.

"Kaiser RNs alerted the public to the staffing problems on the eve of the hospital’s opening. The nurses predicted the problems would continue and even worsen at all three medical centers. The nurses’ predictions have been borne out by their experiences—despite Kaiser Permanente's repeated denials in their statements to the press. The executives who write these rote statements are not at the bedside on the frontlines and do not speak from personal experience," read the union's September 19 statement.

Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente officials are dismissing the "informational picket" as a strategy in its ongoing labor negotiations.

Reads Kaiser Permanente's statement, "Patient safety and providing high-quality care remain our top priorities. Our staffing approach reflects our shared commitment to ensuring every Kaiser Permanente patient receives extraordinary care every time and in every place. 

We are disappointed by some of the false narratives the union is circulating about our staffing. To be clear, all Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers in San Diego are fully staffed in accordance with the State of California’s mandated staffing levels for nurses. Kaiser Permanente has consistently been in full compliance with those levels, and in fact, we regularly staff at a higher level than the state’s mandate."

Officials at Kaiser Permanente say they are continuing to meet with the nurses union in hopes of addressing their concerns.

RELATED: Kaiser Permanente employees vote on strike authorization

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