- No Comments
Kaiser Permanente psychological well being workers and supporters march exterior a Kaiser facility in Sacramento, California, Aug. 15, 2022.
Rich Pedroncelli | AP
More than 60,000 health-care workers on Thursday voted to authorize a strike in opposition to Kaiser Permanente if an settlement shouldn’t be reached when their present contract expires Sept. 30.
Members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West voted 98% in favor of a strike over complaints that pay has not saved tempo with inflation and understaffing has led to lengthy wait instances and the neglect of sufferers.
The California union’s extra than 57,000 members embody medical assistants, surgical technicians and social workers amongst different health-care professionals.
Some 4,000 health-care workers in Oregon and Washington state voted to authorize strikes in opposition to Kaiser later Thursday. In Colorado, 3,000 workers licensed strikes in opposition to Kaiser final week.
The labor teams are a part of an umbrella group referred to as the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions that represents 85,000 health-care workers in complete. The coalition says the strikes, ought to they happen, could be the biggest by health-care workers in U.S. historical past.
Kaiser Permanente is among the largest nonprofit well being plans within the U.S. with practically 13 million members. It operates 39 hospitals and extra than 600 medical workplaces throughout eight states and Washington, D.C.
The coalition entered contract negotiations with Kaiser Permanente in April. The unions’ final contract was negotiated in 2019 earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic pushed the nation’s health-care system to the brink. There is a closing nationwide bargaining session scheduled for Sept. 21-22.
Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, stated Kaiser has failed to negotiate in good religion and its proposals would make staffing issues worse.
“Nearly 60,000 frontline workers at Kaiser amenities have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike as a result of we are going to merely not stand by as Kaiser violates the legislation and places sufferers in danger,” Regan stated in an announcement Thursday.
Kaiser Permanente, in an announcement Thursday, referred to as the unions’ claims deceptive and urged staff to resist any name for an precise strike. Kaiser stated it has a complete plan in place to guarantee continued entry to well being care ought to a strike happen.
In late August, Kaiser referred to as the strike threats “disappointing” and stated union claims that it has not acted in good religion are “unfounded and counterproductive.”