Over 75,000 Kaiser Permanente Union Workers Could Strike on Wednesday

TUESDAY, Oct. 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Health care workers who serve millions of Americans could strike Wednesday if Kaiser Permanente and union workers don’t reach an agreement.

More than 75,000 members of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions are poised to strike, CNBC reported. The union, whose contract expired Saturday, represents medical assistants, surgical and lab technicians and pharmacists, among other staffers.

Workers and the nation’s largest nonprofit, private health care provider failed to reach an agreement over the weekend. Staffing levels are a key issue, along with pay and benefits, CNBC reported.

“Kaiser executives refuse to acknowledge how much patient care has deteriorated or how much the frontline health care workforce and patients are suffering because of the Kaiser short-staffing crisis,” Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, said in late September.

Kaiser has said that it has contingency plans to ensure continued patient care, CNBC reported.

Negotiations are ongoing, said a Kaiser spokesperson Monday. The company, which is providing online status reports, has said it is confident negotiations will be successful.

Kaiser has 39 hospitals and more than 600 medical offices serving nearly 13 million patients in Washington, D.C., and eight states, including California, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia and Washington. Employees in Kaiser's Georgia facilities would not be affected.

The coalition of unions has accused Kaiser of negotiating in bad faith and committing unfair labor practices, CNBC reported. Members will strike if Kaiser executives do not take “dramatic action now to solve the Kaiser short-staffing crisis by investing in its workforce,” the coalition said in a statement to CNBC.

Kaiser generated $25 billion in revenue in the second quarter of 2023. It reported $2 billion in profit for the quarter, up from a loss of $1.2 billion during same quarter in 2022, CNBC reported.

More information

The University of Southern California has more on staffing shortages in health care.

SOURCE: CNBC, news release, Oct. 2, 2023

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