[Sept. 18, 2019] OAKLAND, Calif. – A Bay Area union of 1,700 Kaiser Permanente optometrists, laboratory scientists, geneticists and home health therapists recently voted to authorize a sympathy strike in support of the more than 80,000 other Kaiser workers who will strike beginning Oct. 14, which would be the nation’s largest strike in more than two decades – and affects more than 24,000 workers in the Bay Area.
“We strongly voted in support of a sympathy strike because of Kaiser’s unfair labor practices,” said Dr. Joan Mah, an optometrist at Kaiser Permanente in San Rafael, Calif. “If Kaiser can just get away with unlawful activity unchecked, when will it stop?”
The 1,700 members of IFPTE Local 20 voted between Sept. 3 and Sept. 16 to approve a sympathy strike in support of the unfair labor practices strike at Kaiser Permanente hospitals and medical offices in California being called for by SEIU-UHW. Unions in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., which are part of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, are also planning unfair labor practices strikes at the same time. Of those IFPTE workers casting ballots, 95 percent voted in support of a strike.
A “sympathy strike” occurs when one union supports another union that is directly involved in a labor dispute, such as many of the unions in the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.
Laboratory scientists provide information medical doctors need to properly diagnose and treat patients, as well as ensure correct blood products are given to patients during surgery or an emergency. Kaiser has not informed IFPTE Local 20 of coverage plans of this important work.
Workers at the other Kaiser Permanente unions want the healthcare giant to bargain in good faith, stop committing unfair labor practices, and negotiate a new National Agreement that would:
As a non-profit entity, Kaiser Permanente is supposed to serve the public interest in exchange for billions of dollars in tax breaks. But in recent years, the corporation has departed from its mission: