More than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers will begin a nationwide, seven-day strike on Oct. 14. The strike will be the largest strike of working people in nearly two decades — including the current GM workers’ strike.
Kaiser employees’ national contract expired Sept. 30, 2018, and healthcare workers have since continued to fight for good jobs and lower costs for patients.
“We believe the only way to ensure our patients get the best care is to take this step,” said Eric Jines, a radiologic technologist at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. “Our goal is to get Kaiser to stop committing unfair labor practices and get back on track as the best place to work and get care. There is no reason for Kaiser to let a strike happen when it has the resources to invest in patients, communities and workers.”
Picket lines will be set up at Kaiser Permanente hospitals, medical office buildings and other facilities in California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Healthcare employees are trying to negotiate a new national agreement that would include a true worker-management partnership, safe staffing and use of technology. The agreement would also address the future workforce shortage of licensed and accredited workers and protect wages and benefits that support families.
"I want to make sure Kaiser comes back to the way they used to be,” said Jeffrey Taylor, a medical assistant who has been working at Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center for 15 years. “They lost their way. They need to come back and care about the community, care about the patients and care about their workers."
Despite enjoying a non-profit status that saves the healthcare system billions of dollars in income and property taxes, Kaiser earned $5.2 billion in the first half of 2019. Its CEO and 36 executives earned $16 million and at least $1 million, respectively.