Hospitals brace for strikes as California workers protest staff shortages

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Hospital staffers and union organizers waved signs and banners in protest over staffing shortages at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Roseville Oct. 14. Photo by Fred Greaves for CalMatters
Kristen Hwang CalMatters Labor advocates are calling it “Striketober.” As weary health care workers across California enter the 19th month of the pandemic, thousands are walking off the job and onto the picket line, demanding more staffing. The strikes and rallies threaten to cripple hospital operations that have been inundated by the COVID-19 Delta surge as well as patients seeking long-delayed care. More than two dozen hospitals across the state — including some Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health facilities and USC Keck Medicine — have experienced strikes by engineers, janitorial staff, respiratory therapists, nurses, midwives, physical therapists and technicians over the past four months. This week, nearly a third of all California hospitals reported “critic
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