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Kaiser Permanente workers drive largest US health care strike ever

Union president Mary Kay Henry said Kaiser has not provided an adequate living wage and benefits to thousands of front-line health care workers.
Kaiser Permanente workers conduct largest US health care strike ever
Posted at 9:42 AM, Oct 04, 2023

Nearly 75,000 union members have gone on strike against Kaiser Permanente, marking the largest strike ever conducted in the U.S. health care field. 

Caroline Lucas, spokesperson for the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, said Wednesday, "Frontline healthcare workers are awaiting a meaningful response from Kaiser executives regarding some of our key priorities including safe staffing, outsourcing protections for incumbent healthcare workers, and fair wages to reduce turnover. Healthcare workers within the coalition remain ready to meet at any time. Currently, the strike continues, and there are no sessions scheduled at this hour."

The Service Employees International Union said that Kaiser Permanente has not negotiated in good faith. SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said Kaiser has not provided an adequate living wage and benefits to workers. 

"This week, 75,000 health care workers across multiple states are ready to take brave action by going on an unfair labor practice strike," Henry said. "Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s largest hospital companies that made $3 billion in profits between January and June alone. Workers across race and background are taking on Kaiser, saying it’s time to bargain in good faith and respect us, protect us and pay us the living wages we need to thrive. They’re demanding what’s necessary for patients to get the quality care they need and deserve."

In addition to 75,000 allied health care workers, Kaiser Permanente also employs nearly 24,000 doctors and 68,000 nurses at its 39 hospitals and 622 medical facilities. 

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One of the largest picket lines is expected in Oakland, California, where Kaiser Permanente is headquartered. In total, health care workers from eight different unions are scheduled to stop working.

Nurses, lab techs, pharmacists, X-ray techs, and food and janitorial workers are among those who are striking. 

The nonprofit is one of the nation's biggest health providers, with more than 12 million patients a year. Kaiser says their hospitals and ERs will stay open. They've brought in contracted temps for critical care roles. 

Non-emergency appointments may be rescheduled, and some Kaiser Pharmacies in their medical offices may close.

@scrippsnews More than 75,000 health care workers have gone on a temporary strike across the country as of Wednesday morning, demanding higher pay and labor shortage solutions. Unionized health care workers and Kaiser Permanente were unable to reach an agreement. #strike #healthcare #kaiserpermanente ♬ original sound - Scripps News


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