FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 10, 2021
LOS ANGELES – Healthcare workers from SEIU-UHW, representing more than 22,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in Southern California, will begin voting this week to authorize a one-day sympathy strike on November 18th in solidarity with 21,000 nurses and other health care professionals from UNAC/UHCP.
“We are voting to support the sympathy strike with our co-workers from UNAC/UHCP to help them achieve a fair contract, because we understand how disrespected they feel by Kaiser’s unfair labor practices,” said Denise Ellis, an administrative worker at Kaiser Permanente Medical Office in Brea. “We don’t want to leave our patients, but we can’t stand by and watch Kaiser engage in economic bullying. They’re putting profits over patient care and the Kaiser we once thought of as the provider of choice in the labor movement is unrecognizable.”
Last week, healthcare workers in Northern California from SEIU-UHW, OPEIU Local 29, and IFPTE Local 20, representing 40,000 Kaiser Permanente employees, announced they would begin voting to authorize a one-day sympathy strike on November 18th in solidarity with Kaiser engineers from Local 39 who have been on strike for several weeks.
Overall, SEIU-UHW Kaiser union leaders are calling on all 58,000 Kaiser members to participate in a 24-hour sympathy strike on November 18th to help their union co-workers in Northern and Southern California win fair contracts. They join tens of thousands of Kaiser workers who are expressing their discontent with the healthcare giant through pickets, strikes, and other actions in California and Oregon.
“After raking in billions of dollars in profits during the pandemic, Kaiser continues to pay dozens of executives million-dollar salaries but wants to cut frontline healthcare workers’ pay rates and reduce their benefits,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-UHW. “Kaiser’s position is not only demeaning to workers but is also absolutely dangerous and destructive for patients. It’s well recognized that there is a growing healthcare worker shortage that is getting worse by the day. Slashing pay rates and benefits to pad profits and boost executive salaries will exacerbate the shortage and hurt patient care.”
Despite being a non-profit organization – which means it pays no income taxes on its earnings and extremely limited property taxes – Kaiser Permanente reported a net income of $6.4 billion in 2020.
Jobs affected by the strike vote include respiratory and x-ray technicians, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, surgical technicians, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, medical assistants, and housekeepers, among other positions.
Media Contact: Renée Saldaña, [email protected]
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SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers.