Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kaiser doctors sue their nurses over CNA strike

I'm glad someone at Kaiser is standing up to unethical bosses.

Kaiser, docs sue nurses over walkout
San Francisco Business Times
by Chris Rauber, Reporter
November 18, 2011

UPDATE: Chuck Idelson, a spokesman for the Oakland-based California Nurses Association , didn't directly respond to the substance of Kaiser Permanente 's lawsuit in U.S. District Court. But he told the San Francisco Business Times late Friday that Kaiser allegedly is taking the step as part of plans for an East Coast expansion move, to New York, New Jersey and the Washington, D.C., area (where it already has a regional unit). "Kaiser has dreams of empire," Idelson said, and wants to fund its expansion on the backs of workers. He said that is CNA's only statement on the suit.

Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California hospital unit and medical group filed a federal lawsuit Thursday that would require the California Nurses Association to go to arbitration over its recent decision “to violate its contract by calling a strike," the health care system said Friday.

Kaiser is asking the U.S. District Court for Northern California to order the CNA into arbitration over what it called a “serious breach” of the union’s contract by a one-day, Northern California-wide strike against the nonprofit system Sept. 22 to 23.

Kaiser said the union’s contract, which went into effect Sept. 1, includes a “mutually agreed upon provision that prohibits work stoppages and strikes for the life of the three-year contract.”

The Oakland-based health care giant said it filed a grievance against the nurses’ union on Oct. 18, “using the dispute resolution process spelled out in the contract,” but that the union rejected the request Nov. 7, claiming the no-strike provision didn’t apply, because only CNA has a right to file a grievance. CNA said at the time it went out in sympathy with a short strike by the National Union of Health Care Workers, which walked out at a number of Kaiser and Sutter Health facilities.

Roughly one-third of the 17,000 CNA-represented RNs who work at Kaiser facilities in Northern California crossed picket lines and showed up at work during the late September work stoppage, according to Kaiser's Nov. 18 statement.

Kaiser sues California Nurses Association over strike
November 18, 2011
Kathy Robertson
Sacramento Business Journal

Kaiser Permanente has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the California Nurses Association violated a no-strike clause in its collective bargaining agreement when it called a statewide strike by Kaiser nurses in September.

Billed as the largest nurses’ strike in state history, CNA called a massive walkout Sept. 22-23 by as many as 22,700 nurses, including 17,000 at Kaiser, 5,000 at Sutter Health and 700 at Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Other workers at other unions joined the walkout, too.

CNA’s current contract with Kaiser — which went into effect Sept. 1 — includes a mutually agreed upon provision that prohibits work stoppages and strikes for the life of the three-year contract, Kaiser alleges in the lawsuit. The strike required Kaiser to hire hundreds of temporary nurses and additional staff, limit elective medical procedures and transfer critical care through special teams, all at considerable expense.

Kaiser filed a grievance against the union Oct. 18, requesting a discussion to address the issue using the dispute resolution process spelled out in the contract.

CNA rejected the request Nov. 7, claiming the no-strike provision does not apply to sympathy strikes and that only the union has the right to file a grievance under the contract, court documents allege.

Kaiser seeks a court order compelling the union to arbitrate Kaiser’s grievance.

CNA spokesman Chuck Idelson said the union has a strong history — known to Kaiser — of providing support for other unions.

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