The total could grow by nearly 20,000 more as other unions tally their votes. Kaiser Permanente would need to reach a contract deal by Sept. 30 to avoid the walk-off.
By Dave Muoio – September 22, 2023
This morning member organizations of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions issued a 10-day unfair labor practice strike notice to the major nonprofit health system and insurer after the parties’ final scheduled bargaining session failed to deliver an accord.
Should no deal be struck in the interim, over 75,000 union workers across Kaiser Permanente’s California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and Washington D.C. facilities will walk off the job for three days, starting Oct. 4.
The dispute over new contracts’ pay and staffing terms threatens to go down as the largest healthcare strike in the country’s history, the unions said. Authorization votes held by the individual unions have overwhelmingly landed in favor of the demonstrations, per results released over the past week.
“Kaiser executives refuse to acknowledge how much patient care has deteriorated or how much the frontline healthcare workforce and patients are suffering because of the Kaiser short-staffing crisis,” Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, part of the Coalition, said in a release. “The patient care crisis cannot be solved unless Kaiser executives follow the law by bargaining with healthcare workers in good faith, and take dramatic action now to solve the crisis by investing in its workforce.”
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions comprises over 85,000 of the nonprofit system’s workers in total, and has led demonstrations over the course of the summer and during the run-up to the strike authorization vote that are critical of Kaiser’s leadership.