Nearly 75,000 health care workers began a planned three-day strike Wednesday at Kaiser Permanente facilities across the United States, the largest action yet in the health care sector.
The striking workforce includes nurses, medical technicians and various support staff at several of Kaiser Permanente’s hospitals in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and Washington, DC.
Kaiser Permanente, a major nonprofit health care network and managed-care organization, said hospitals and emergency departments will remain operational with doctors, managers and contingent workers staffed.
The coalition of unions representing these workers allege that Kaiser has failed to address the ongoing workforce shortage, leaving workers feeling overburdened and inadequately compensated. At present, the strike is scheduled to last for three days and negotiations are ongoing between the company and the union following the expiry of the previous contract on September 30.
Christina Anderson, a phlebotomist with 12 years of experience at Kaiser Permanente’s Indian Hill Clinic in Claremont, California, said, “Kaiser executives can end this strike today if they bargain in good faith with frontline health workers and Kaiser’s End the shortage.” crisis, and it’s for the safety of our patients and healthcare workers.”
In recent years, labor unions across the United States have become more vocal in demanding higher wages and better benefits to combat the decline in their purchasing power due to rising living costs. This year has already seen an increase in strike activity, the most significant since 2019, with it likely to increase further as hospitality workers in Las Vegas consider action against casinos and auto workers in Detroit consider action against key vehicles. Are considering intensifying their strike against the manufacturers.
Michael LeRoy, a labor law professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said, “Especially for the healthcare industry, I think it shows the determination of unions to get fair staffing done. The reality is that we are in a new era. “Are in the midst of high strike activity.” According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest health care sector employed 53,000 workers in 2018.
The coalition, which includes eight unions representing nurses, technicians and support staff, insists that Kaiser must hire 10,000 new health workers to address current vacancies. While another strike may be imminent, Anderson stressed, “Right now, we’re just focused on the next three days.”
In Virginia and Washington, D.C., only optometrists and pharmacists are participating in the strike, but its impact on patients is expected to be more significant in California, Colorado, Oregon and parts of southwestern Washington state, as Kaiser’s The spokesperson has confirmed.
“Both Kaiser Permanente management and Coalition union representatives are still at the bargaining table, working through the night in an effort to reach an agreement,” Kaiser said in Wednesday’s announcement. Nationwide, Kaiser employs 68,000 nurses, 213,000 technicians, clerical staff and administrative staff, in addition to its 24,000 doctors.
According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 309,700 workers have been involved in work stoppages through August this year.