The California Nurses Association is calling on more than 2,400 nurses to strike Providence Health and Services hospitals in Santa Monica and Torrance and at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center next week over staffing levels and retention rates.

The move is part of a coordinated effort by National Nurses United and its California affiliate. The union is in the middle of renegotiating its contracts at the Providence hospitals and angling to represent nurses at Kaiser’s Los Angeles Medical Center.

“There’s a whole series of patient care crises in the facility that nurses are fed up with,” David Johnson, national organizing director of the Kaiser facility for the union. “(They) voted to authorize CAN to call a two-day strike to deal with severe understaffing.”

Kaiser responded by pointing out that CNA is one of three unions that will appear on the ballot in a future election. “We believe it is entirely inappropriate to attempt to disrupt patient care or service as part of a union organizing effort,” it said in a statement, adding that its nursing staff ratios meet or exceed state guidelines.

Providence said it respects each employee’s right to participate in a strike, but noted in a statement the hospital thinks “it would be more constructive to get back to bargaining.”

Nurses planned to strike Kaiser on April 30 and all three hospitals May 1. Both hospital systems said they’re working on contingency plans.

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