Tens of thousands of workers at Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics across the country are voting on whether to authorize a strike. The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which includes a dozen local unions, said a strike would start no earlier than Oct. 1. More than 80,000 employees are represented by the coalition, including the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU), which represents some 12,000 Kaiser employees. If a strike moves forward, it would be the largest strike of health care workers in the history of the country. Union members are pushing for safe staffing levels to protect nurses and patients.
“Patient care is in crisis at Kaiser Permanente,” said Linda Bridges, president of OPEIU Local 2 in Silver Spring, Maryland. “Staffing was decimated during the pandemic and it has not gotten any better. The problem we’re dealing with is Kaiser is not hearing us. Kaiser can and must do better....They need to stop the unfair labor practices and address the healthcare staffing needs now.”