Thousands of California Kaiser nurses and healthcare workers plan to strike

A union representing thousands of Kaiser Permanente employees on Thursday gave 10 days’ notice to one of the country’s largest healthcare providers, saying they will go on strike from November 15.

United Nurses Associations of California / Union of Health Care Professionals strike against Kaiser Permanente’s proposals to “lower wages for current employees and cut wages for new workers during national health workforce crisis,” union said in a press release.

If an agreement is not reached by the deadline, some 21,000 nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, nurse practitioners and medical assistants will stop working. The 10-day notice is required by California law in order for healthcare facilities to prepare.

Nearly 7,400 members of the United Steelworkers Local 7600 in Southern California and 3,400 members of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals will also strike against Kaiser from the same day, bringing the number total strikers to nearly 32,000 workers.

The strike will affect 366 facilities in Southern California, including hospitals and medical centers in Anaheim, Antelope Valley, Baldwin Park, Downey, Fontana, Harbor City, Irvine, Los Angeles, Ontario-Vineyard, Panorama City, Riverside, San Diego, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills, as well as hundreds of clinics, rapid-care clinics in Target stores, and medical office buildings from Bakersfield to San Diego and Los Angeles to the Inland Empire.

“Other healthcare systems across the country, some less fiscally sound than Kaiser Permanente, are making the right choices for patients by attracting the best caregivers with big pay increases and special incentives, ranging from On-site childcare signing bonuses, “the press release read. .

“Meanwhile, KP – sitting on billions of money – has failed to respond to union proposals that would address pressing issues such as staff shortages, racial justice and equal access to health care. health, “the statement continued.

Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president of human resources at Kaiser Permanente, rebutted the union’s claims in a statement, saying the hospital system is “unquestionably one of the most worker-friendly organizations in the United States.”

“The challenge we are trying to meet in partnership with our unions is the increasingly unaffordable cost of health care. And the point is, salaries and benefits are half of Kaiser Permanente’s operational costs, ”Peasnall said.

Kaiser has been in talks with the Alliance of Health Care Unions since April, including regular meetings since September, and Peasnall said the hospital system believes “a deal that meets everyone’s interests is very possible.”

“We believe that we can come to an agreement with the Alliance that meets our common interests and avoids an unnecessary and harmful strike, especially as we continue to fight this pandemic,” said Peasnall.

Peasnall added that if the unions strike, Kaiser Permanente’s facilities will remain operational.

“If a strike does happen, our facilities will have our trained and experienced managers and emergency personnel to bring in as needed, and our doctors will continue to be available to care for patients,” said Peasnall.

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