Thu, Oct 05|
Marin County Kaiser Strike
MORE THAN 75,000 KAISER PERMANENTE HEALTHCARE WORKERS TO STRIKE
Time & Location
Oct 05, 2023, 5:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Kaiser-San Rafael, 99 Montecillo Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903, USA
About the event
OAKLAND, Calif. - See flier here - More than 75,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente will strike October 4-6 to protest Kaiser executives’ bad faith bargaining over solutions to end the Kaiser short staffing crisis. The unfair labor practice strike will take place for three days at hundreds of Kaiser Permanente facilities across California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and Washington D.C. The negotiations are the largest single-employer labor negotiations occurring in the United States and the strike would be the largest healthcare strike in U.S. history.
Frontline healthcare workers have been sounding the alarm about how the Kaiser short staffing crisis is hurting patients and employees across the U.S., but Kaiser executives have refused to listen.
"We’ve repeatedly raised our concerns with Kaiser executives about the Kaiser short-staffing crisis, but they are bargaining in bad faith and refusing to listen to us," said Audrey Cardenas Loera, a fees and benefits support specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Hillsboro, Oregon. “Healthcare workers see how Kaiser patients are forced to wait unsafe lengths of time for cancer screenings, room assignments, test results, primary care appointments, x-rays, surgeries, waiting in emergency rooms, and more. We simply want our patients to be safe and get the care that they deserve.”
Healthcare workers issued a 10-day unfair labor practice strike notice to Kaiser this morning.
“Kaiser executives refuse to acknowledge how much patient care has deteriorated or how much the frontline healthcare workforce and patients are suffering because of the Kaiser short-staffing crisis,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. “The patient care crisis cannot be solved unless Kaiser executives follow the law by bargaining with healthcare workers in good faith, and take dramatic action now to solve the crisis by investing in its workforce.”
“Being away from our patients is the last thing we want to have to do,” said Paula Coleman, a Clinical Laboratory Assistant in Englewood, Colorado, “but Kaiser executives have refused time and time again to bargain in good faith and listen to frontline healthcare workers about the solutions needed to end the Kaiser short staffing crisis.”
The Kaiser healthcare workers are members of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which represents healthcare workers in seven states and the District of Columbia. In April, the Coalition began its national bargaining process ahead of the September 30th contract expiration. The Coalition and Kaiser Permanente last negotiated a contract in 2019, before healthcare workers found themselves on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic that has worsened working conditions and exacerbated a healthcare staffing crisis.
At issue, healthcare workers say, are a series of unfair labor practices related to bargaining in bad faith, along with simmering staff concerns related to unsafe staffing levels that can lead to dangerously long wait times, mistaken diagnosis, and neglect. After years of the COVID pandemic and chronic understaffing, Kaiser healthcare workers are calling on management to provide safe staffing levels.
Workers say that Kaiser is committing unfair labor practices and also that understaffing is boosting Kaiser’s profits but hurting patients. In a recent survey of 33,000 employees, 2/3 of workers said they’d seen care delayed or denied due to short staffing. After three years of the COVID pandemic and chronic understaffing, healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente are calling on management to provide safe staffing levels.
Kaiser has reported $3 billion in profits in just the first six months of this year. Despite being a non-profit organization – which means it pays no income taxes on its earnings and extremely limited property taxes – Kaiser has reported more than $24 billion in profit over the last five years. Kaiser’s CEO was compensated more than $16 million in 2021, and forty-nine executives at Kaiser are compensated more than $1 million annually. Kaiser Permanente has investments of $113 billion in the US and abroad, including in fossil fuels, casinos, for-profit prisons, alcohol companies, military weapons and more.
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions unites more than 85,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in California, Colorado, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington.