June 22, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

75,000 Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Workers Went On Strike This Week

Strike Seeks To Resolve Employee’s Concerns About Short Staffing Crisis

By Dolores Quintana

More than 75,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente went on strike from October 4 to October 6, protesting Kaiser executives’ alleged bad-faith bargaining in addressing the ongoing Kaiser staffing shortage crisis. This unfair labor practice strike is slated to span three days and will impact numerous Kaiser Permanente facilities across several states, including California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and Washington D.C. These negotiations represent the largest single-employer labor negotiations in the United States and is the largest healthcare walkout in U.S. history. The workers are part of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West. 

Los Angeles Supervisor Janice Hahn and Los Angeles City Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky participated in picket lines, and Supervisor Lindsay Horvath sent a message of support via her social media. 

Frontline healthcare workers have repeatedly raised concerns about the negative impact of the Kaiser staffing shortage crisis on both patients and employees nationwide. However, Kaiser executives have purportedly ignored these concerns.

Audrey Cardenas Loera, a fees and benefits support specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Hillsboro, Oregon, expressed frustration, stating, “We’ve repeatedly raised our concerns with Kaiser executives about the Kaiser short-staffing crisis, but they are bargaining in bad faith and refusing to listen to us. Healthcare workers witness patients enduring unsafe wait times for critical services such as cancer screenings, room assignments, test results, primary care appointments, x-rays, surgeries, and emergency room visits. Our primary goal is ensuring the safety and well-being of our patients, allowing them to receive the care they rightfully deserve.”

On September 22, healthcare workers issued a 10-day unfair labor practice strike notice to Kaiser. Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, emphasized, “Kaiser executives have yet to acknowledge the extent of the deterioration in patient care or the suffering endured by frontline healthcare workers and patients due to the Kaiser short-staffing crisis. Solving the patient care crisis necessitates Kaiser executives adhering to the law by engaging in good-faith bargaining with healthcare workers and taking immediate and significant steps to address the crisis by investing in its workforce.”

Paula Coleman, a Clinical Laboratory Assistant in Englewood, Colorado, shared her sentiment, stating, “Being away from our patients is the last thing we want to have to do. However, Kaiser executives have consistently failed to engage in good-faith bargaining and listen to frontline healthcare workers regarding the necessary solutions to resolve the Kaiser short-staffing crisis.”

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