(CBS SF) — Thousands of Kaiser Permanente nurses are on a two-day strike in Northern California as contract negotiations continue.

About 18,000 nurses hit the picket line starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

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The nurses rallying Tuesday and Wednesday are focusing on poor training procedures to deal with Ebola. But Kaiser claims there’s more to it than that since the union continues to work without a contact. It says the nurses are using Ebola as “a rouse.”

“It’s frankly irresponsible from our perspective,” said California Hospital Association spokeswoman Jan Emerson.

The issue of money hasn’t yet to come up in contract talks. The stalemate after three months of bargaining is operational issues. The union wants Kaiser to fill about 2,000 open nursing spots from the past couple of years.

“Kaiser is earning $12 million a day in profit and we want them to put that money back into patient care,” said nurse Diane McClure.

Kaiser disputes the claim that nurses aren’t being trained to respond to Ebola.

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The  two-day strike is expected to impact about 21 Kaiser hospitals and 35 clinics.

Kaiser says its health facilities will remain open during the strike, though some elective procedures and routine appointments may be rescheduled. Nearly 3,000 temporary, traveling nurses will be filling any gaps in care.


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