Bakersfield Memorial Hospital defended its nurse staffing levels Tuesday in advance of a labor union-led informational picketing event set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday outside the medical center.

The hospital said in a email it was disappointed by the California Nurses Association’s decision to picket because "we pride ourselves (for being) compliant with California state-mandated RN staffing levels and excellent, safe patient care.”

Bakersfield Memorial’s email apologized to its patients, physicians and staff for “any inconvenience the informational picket may cause.”

“We believe the best place to resolve differences are through collaborative and constructive dialogue and processes” as outlined in its collective bargaining agreement with the CNA, it said.

The hospital said workers participating in the picket are “valued and respected members of our health care team.” It extended an offer to meet with the union and its members “to discuss and find common resolution to the issues of concern.”

The hospital’s statement was a response to the union’s announcement Monday it will ask management during the picketing to improve staffing levels and address what it called unsafe working conditions at Bakersfield Memorial.

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