RELEASE: COLORADO KAISER PERMANENTE WORKERS OVERWHELMINGLY VOTE TO SUPPORT NATIONWIDE STRIKE BEGINNING IN OCTOBER
DENVER, CO – In the last three weeks, over 3000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado workers – members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 105 – turned out in large numbers to overwhelmingly authorize a strike in early October that would be the largest in the United States in more than two decades.
As more than 80,000 Kaiser workers around the country voted, thousands of members of the SEIU Local 105 in Colorado voted between August 26th and September 11th whether to approve the unfair labor practices strike at Kaiser Permanente facilities.
A strong majority of workers turned out to vote, with 62% casting a ballot and 96% percent of those voting “Yes” in support of authorizing a strike.
“Kaiser workers in Colorado are prepared to do what it takes to get Kaiser back on track as the healthcare provider that helps patients, employees, and communities thrive,” said Patricia Johnson-Gibson a Healthcare Vice President at SEIU Local 105 in Denver. “Kaiser has strayed too far from its mission—instead of prioritizing quality patient care and the workers who help provide it, they have shifted their focus to maximizing profits for their executives. We hope this strike vote sends a message to Kaiser that workers are willing to do whatever it takes to advocate for our patients and our families.”
“I am proud of our members for taking such a strong stand to bring Kaiser back to its core values of respecting its workforce, high-quality patient care, and re-establishing a world-class Partnership,” said Ron Ruggiero, President of SEIU 105. “Doing so made Kaiser a world-class provider of quality care, enormously successful financially, and the envy of its competitors–but Kaiser has lost its way over the last few years. This strike vote shows just how serious and determined our members are and I hope Kaiser will finally listen.”
Workers want Kaiser Permanente to bargain in good faith and stop committing unfair labor practices, and are working to negotiate a new National Agreement that would:
- 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.
Joining a coalition of 85,000 union workers nationwide in the largest private-sector US work stoppage in over two decades, this will make it the largest healthcare workers strike in Colorado history. The workers’ national contract expired Sept. 30, 2018, and in December 2018 the National Labor Relations Board charged Kaiser Permanente with failing to bargain in good faith. Since then, Kaiser has continued to commit unfair labor practices.
Support from Colorado elected leaders continues to grow. Last week in a letter to Kaiser Permanente Colorado, the Denver City Council committed to “stand with Kaiser employees and educate our members about their struggle to protect quality patient care and good jobs in our communities.”
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 105 is an organization made up of more than 7,500 healthcare and property service workers in Colorado. We are united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. Our union is part of the fastest-growing union in North America, whose 2.2 million members make up the largest healthcare union, the largest property services union, and the second-largest public services.