California-based National Nurses United had expected about 100,000
nurses nationwide to participate in the protest, and a spokesman for
the union said he expected about that many people to take part
before the end of the day.
The union is embroiled in contract talks with the operators of
nearly 90 California hospitals and clinics, and one hospital in
About 19,000 nurses who on Tuesday began a two-day strike against
those California facilities were part of the Ebola measures protest,
which in other parts of the country did not involve nurses walking
off the job.
Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, which operates most of the
California facilities where the nurses were striking, has accused
the union of using Ebola as a pretext for labor action.
The nurses are pressing hospitals to buy hazardous materials suits
which leave no skin exposed, as well as powered air-purifying
respirators, to properly protect them from exposure, and they are
seeking more training to handle patients suspected of having Ebola.
"The best way to protect our community is to protect our nurses,"
said Evan Brost, a nurse who joined more than 30 people in a protest
outside the White House over Ebola measures.
Elsewhere, protests took place in Chicago, Oakland, and outside the
offices of some state governors, said National Nurses United
Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has
ordered $2.7 million worth of personal protective equipment to help
hospitals care for Ebola patients, but union officials contend that
[to top of second column]
"For weeks, union leadership has claimed to the public that this
strike is about Ebola," Kaiser Permanente spokesman John Nelson said
in a statement. "But the fact is Kaiser Permanente is well prepared,
well trained and well equipped to handle potential or diagnosed
The last U.S. patient being treated for Ebola was released from a
hospital on Tuesday.
The Ebola epidemic has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa but
only one person, a Liberian native, has died in the United States.
Two nurses who treated him at a Dallas hospital contracted Ebola but
(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Gareth Jones and Eric
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