Kaiser Permanente Workers in Oregon and Washington to Begin Voting to Authorize Strike
Nationwide Unfair Labor Practices Strike Would be Largest in Two Decades
PORTLAND – Thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers in Oregon and Washington will begin voting to authorize a nationwide unfair labor practices strike this week.
Preparations for the strike, which would be the largest since the Teamsters strike at United Parcel Service in 1997, began after contract talks stalled July 12. In December 2018, the National Labor Relations Board charged Kaiser Permanente with failing to bargain in good faith. Since then, Kaiser has continued to bargain in bad faith and commit additional unfair labor practices.
Voting to approve the unfair labor practices strike will take place at Kaiser Permanente facilities across Oregon and continue into early September at facilities in Washington, California, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, with more than 80,000 workers taking part. The strike would start in early October.
“Kaiser Permanente has absolutely lost its way,” said Jen Forrester, a Medical Assistant, at Kaiser Permanente Central Interstate Medical Center. “Even though they boast about helping patients and employees thrive, the reality is, while we’re doing our best to build up our communities and give patients the best care, Kaiser continues to undercut our work by raising prices for patients, undermining quality healthcare, not bargaining in good faith, and attacking the healthcare workers who are the backbone of its success.”
The previous contract expired Sept. 30, 2018. Workers are fighting to:
- Restore a true worker-management partnership, and have Kaiser bargain in good faith;
- Ensure safe staffing and compassionate use of technology;
- Build the workforce of the future to deal with major projected shortages of licensed and accredited staff in the coming years; and
- Protect middle-class jobs with wages and benefits that can support families.
As a non-profit, Kaiser is supposed to directly serve the public interest in exchange for billions in tax breaks. But in recent years, Kaiser has departed from its mission by squeezing out billion-dollar profits, providing excessive compensation to executives — such as $16 million to its CEO — failing to serve its share of low-income patients and attacking Kaiser workers.
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The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions comprises labor unions in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, representing more than 80,000 Kaiser caregivers. To learn more, visit www.KaiserKeepThriveAlive.com