Kaiser Permanente workers vote to authorize strike
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – More than 4,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers have announced intentions to strike if no agreement is reached by the end of the month.
The announcement follows what healthcare workers say are unfair labor practices related to bad bargaining practices, unsafe staffing levels that could lead to concerning wait times for care, mistaken diagnosis and neglect.
An official release from the workers says the employees voted to authorize a strike to protest unfair labor practices by a margin of 98% if no agreement is reached by Sept. 30.
“It’s devastating to see our patients get sicker and go without the care they need, all because Kaiser won’t put patient and worker safety first,” said Audrey Cardenas Loera, Benefits Specialist at Tanasbourne Dental. “If Kaiser won’t bargain in good faith, we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to stand up for our patients and the safe staffing they deserve. We will be going on strike if Kaiser doesn’t stop committing unfair labor practices.”
The Kaiser healthcare workers are part of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, representing more than 85,000 healthcare workers in seven states and the District of Columbia.
Kaiser Permanente released the following statement, in part:
“A strike authorization by SEIU’s members does not reflect any breakdown in bargaining, nor does it indicate a strike is imminent or will happen at all. It is a disappointing action considering our progress at the bargaining table. Unfortunately, this year, throughout our negotiations we have seen Coalition leaders attempt to rally their unions’ members to threaten a strike despite important progress made through negotiations.
We take any threat to disrupt care for our members seriously and have comprehensive plans to ensure continued access to needed health care services, should a strike occur later this year.”
Voting by more than 4,000 healthcare workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington to authorize a strike began Aug. 28.
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