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Union sues Kaiser over medical staffing levels
originally posted at: The Denver Post

By Marsha Austin
Denver Post Business Writer

Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 filed suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court against Kaiser Permanente of Colorado, alleging the managed care company has failed to increase staffing levels at clinics and is jeopardizing patient safety.

UFCW Local 7 represents Kaiser nurses, medical technicians and other employees of the health plan and medical group. In May 2000, Kaiser workers went on strike in part to protest low staffing levels and a reliance on temporary workers.

As part of the resulting labor contract, Kaiser agreed to reduce the number of temporary nurses, provide adequate staffing levels to ensure patients' safety and provide the union with details about money paid to outside staffing agencies.

The UFCW suit alleges that Kaiser has failed to carry out the terms of the contract.

A Kaiser spokeswoman said she was unfamiliar with details of the suit and couldn't comment.