UPDATED 8:54 AM PT — Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Tens of thousands of health care workers are planning to take part in a seven day strike across six states. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions recently announced that around 80,000 workers will participate in what is projected to be the biggest strike in the country since 1997.
The coalition has alleged that Kaiser Permanente uses unfair labor practices. The strike reportedly aims to pressure Kaiser to restore a worker-management partnership and protect middle class jobs.
Protesters also cited concerns of under staffing, claiming patients have to wait two or three weeks for an appointment.
“For the last 15 years I worked for Kaiser, but over the last few years Kaiser has lost their way,” stated Jeff Taylor, a pediatrics medical assistant. “They’re not taking care of many Medicaid patients and other non-profit organizations, they’re outsourcing our work…we just want Kaiser to come back take care of the patients, take care of the community.”
The health care provider has also been charged by the National Labor Relations Board with failing to bargain in good faith.
The strikes come just weeks after Kaiser workers marched down the streets of Sacramento in protest amid contract negotiations.
“We know we’re in contracts, so we already know that it is about wages, but that’s not really our main focus,” explained medical assistant Takeia Watts. “Our main focus is patient care…it’s patients over profit and Kaiser has started to get into profit over patient.”
Those to participate in next month’s walk-out include optometrists, x-ray technicians, vocational nurses, and housekeepers. The picket lines are expected to be set up at Kaiser hospitals and medical office buildings beginning October 14th.