Kaiser Permanente workers in California overwhelmingly support a strike in early October that would be the biggest strike in the United States in more than two decades, according to a press release issued by Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW).
From July 29 to August 11, members of the union turned out in high numbers to cast ballots that showed 98% of the voters approve of the strike against unfair labor practices at Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics. Members hope to restore a s worker-management partnership, and have Kaiser bargain in good faith; ensure safe staffing and compassionate use of technology; build the workforce of the future to deal with major projected shortages of licensed and accredited staff in the coming years; and protect middle-class jobs with wages and benefits that can support families.
“Kaiser workers all over California are putting a stake in the ground that it’s time for this corporation to get back on track and live up to its mission to help patients, workers, and communities thrive,” said Heather Wright, a women’s health clerk at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, Calif. “This company should be all about providing the best possible patient care, but unfortunately its focus in recent years has been on making billions of dollars in profits and millions of dollars for Kaiser executives.”
Strike authorization votes among other groups of Kaiser workers in California, and employees in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia run through mid-September. The strike would start in early October, and would be the nation’s largest since the Teamsters’ walkout at United Parcel Service in 1997.