Aparna Kumar,

Issued October 03, 2023

SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry Statement on Largest-Ever Healthcare Workers Strike Amid Unprecedented Worker Uprising Across Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mary Kay Henry, International President of the 2-million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), released the following statement as over 75,000 Kaiser Permanente Healthcare workers prepare to walk off the job, beginning the largest healthcare worker strike in US history:

“This week, 75,000 healthcare workers across multiple states are ready to take brave action by going on an unfair labor practice strike. 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.

SEIU healthcare workers are making history in an unprecedented season of solidarity across the economy. We’ve seen how working people are rising up together in historic ways, walking each other’s picket lines and rejecting an economy that has never worked for us. From coast-to-coast, working people of all backgrounds are winning together. 320,000 UPS workers and tens of thousands of pilots, writers and hospital workers have won strong contracts with major raises and protections. More than 500,000 fast-food workers in California won a $20/hr minimum wage and a seat at the table. Hollywood actors and UAW auto workers continue to seize their power by going on strike.

Healthcare workers are next to strike because they put their lives on the line every day to care for our communities. They show up to take care of us when we’re sick and comfort us when we’re afraid – including through a deadly pandemic. They are burnt out, scared for their patients and fed up. It’s time for Kaiser to act with the urgency this staffing crisis demands and to settle a fair contract that includes long-term solutions to the crisis like livable wages and benefits.

We remain hopeful that we can avoid a strike tomorrow – and the ball is in Kaiser’s court. If Kaiser management truly cares about patient safety, they’ll come back to the table, bargain in good faith and invest in the essential workers who are the foundation of our healthcare system. Until then, we’ll see you on the picket line.”