Lodging complaints over equipment and training standards for the Ebola virus, an estimated 18,000 nurses in Northern California are planning a two-day strike against a major health care organization starting Nov. 11, Bloomberg News reports.
The walkout would affect 21 hospitals and 65 clinics owned by Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, said Charles Idelson, a spokesman for National Nurses United, the news site reports. The union’s contract with nonprofit operator expired in August and was extended until October, he said, according to Bloomberg.
Union leaders mapped out their concerns about the issue in a Nov. 6 statement, the news site says. Leaders charge that Kaiser “continued to stonewall on dozens of proposals to improve patient care standards, as well as refusing to address the concern of Kaiser RNs about Ebola safety protocols and protective equipment, refusing to even answer questions by the RNs,” the report says.
Kaiser, however, pushed back, saying its hospitals do have contingency plans in place and will operate with normal business hours and services, while elective procedures and nonurgent appointments will be rescheduled, John Nelson, a spokesman, told Bloomberg in an emailed statement. He brushed back claims that health workers aren’t being trained to deal with Ebola.
The issue emerged after two nurses in Dallas became infected with the deadly disease. which has killed thousands across the globe. The nurses were caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first man to die of the virus in the U.S. Both nurses have since been declared free of the virus.
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The incident prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release update guidelines for health workers, such as details about the coverings they should wear while treating Ebola patients.
Read more at Bloomberg News.