Kaiser Permanente Reaches Deal With 75K Workers

Health care staffers already staged one strike and had threatened another
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 4, 2023 8:22 AM CDT
Updated Oct 13, 2023 9:03 AM CDT
Next Strike Begins, With 75K Workers in 5 States
Kaiser Permanente mental health workers and supporters march outside a Kaiser facility in Sacramento, California, on Aug. 15, 2022. Roughly 75,000 health care workers at the Kaiser Permanente hospital system are poised to go on a three-day strike at hospitals in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington,...   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
UPDATE Oct 13, 2023 9:03 AM CDT

Unions representing 75,000 health care workers who recently held a strike against industry giant Kaiser Permanente over wages and staffing shortages have reached a tentative agreement with the company, per the AP. The three-day strike last week involving 75,000 workers in multiple states officially ended last Saturday, and workers returned to their jobs in Kaiser's hospitals and clinics that serve nearly 13 million Americans. But the unions warned that another stoppage could happen in November. The workers had sought a $25 hourly minimum wage, as well as increases of 7% each year in the first two years and 6.25% each year in the two years afterward. Details on the agreement were not immediately available.

Oct 4, 2023 8:22 AM CDT

Picketing began Wednesday morning at Kaiser Permanente hospitals as some 75,000 health care workers went on strike in Virginia, California, and three other states over wages and staffing shortages, marking the latest major labor unrest in the United States. Kaiser Permanente is one of the country's larger insurers and health care system operators, with 39 hospitals nationwide, per the AP. The nonprofit company, based in Oakland, provides health coverage for nearly 13 million people. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, representing about 85,000 of the health system's employees nationally, approved a strike for three days in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and for one day in Virginia and Washington, DC.

The strikers include licensed vocational nurses, home health aides, and ultrasound sonographers, as well as technicians in radiology, X-ray, surgical, pharmacy, and emergency departments. Doctors aren't participating, and Kaiser says its hospitals, including emergency rooms, will remain open during the picketing. It comes amid unprecedented worker organizing within multiple industries this year, including hospitality, transportation, and entertainment. Wednesday's strike is the latest one for the health care industry this year as it continues to confront burnout with the heavy workloads—problems that were exacerbated greatly by the pandemic.

(More Kaiser Permanente stories.)

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