[Sept. 16, 2019] OAKLAND, Calif. – More than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers in six states and the District of Columbia will begin a nationwide, seven-day unfair labor practices strike Oct. 14. The strike will be the largest since the Teamsters strike against United Parcel Service more than two decades ago.
“We believe the only way to ensure our patients get the best care is to take this step,” said Eric Jines, a radiologic technologist at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. “Our goal is to get Kaiser to stop committing unfair labor practices and get back on track as the best place to work and get care. There is no reason for Kaiser to let a strike happen when it has the resources to invest in patients, communities and workers.”
Picket lines will be set up at Kaiser Permanente hospitals, medical office buildings and other facilities in California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Jobs affected by the strike include optometrists, clinical laboratory scientists, respiratory and x-ray technicians, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, surgical technicians, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, medical assistants and housekeepers, among hundreds of other positions.
Workers are trying to negotiate a new National Agreement that would:
The workers’ national contract expired Sept. 30, 2018, and in December 2018 the National Labor Relations Board charged Kaiser Permanente with failing to bargain in good faith. Since then, Kaiser has continued to commit unfair labor practices.
Support from elected officials, clergy and labor unions continues to grow across the country for the unfair labor practices strike: five Democratic presidential candidates; U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.); 16 U.S. Representatives, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi; 70 California state legislators; the Denver City Council; labor federations representing hundreds of thousands of workers; and 90 faith leaders, who called Kaiser’s actions a “moral failing.”
As a non-profit entity, Kaiser Permanente is supposed to serve the public interest in exchange for not paying income taxes and little to nothing in property taxes – an estimated tax break of more than $2.3 billion over the last two years. But in recent years, the corporation has departed from its community-oriented mission by: