A major strike. More than 75,000 employees of Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest hospital systems in the United States, began a three-day strike Wednesday to demand better working conditions. This must be the most important movement to shake up health services in the country, said the coalition of unions which called for this strike in California, Oregon, Virginia and Washington in particular, to denounce “unfair labor practices”.
The movement has already started on the East Coast and is expected to expand later today to the West Coast, where most of the group's workforce is based. “This is a difficult decision and we know it requires sacrifice from all of us, but Kaiser executives continue to negotiate in bad faith on the solutions we urgently need to resolve the shortage crisis. Kaiser staff and the safety and well-being of our patients and employees are at stake,” the coalition said recently.
“This is the largest health care worker strike in U.S. history,” she said. And if workers' demands are not met, a new strike could be organized in November, she warned. Unions are demanding, among other things, salary increases and protections against the outsourcing of services. Kaiser Permanente said it was “disappointed” by the strike call and said it planned to keep its medical centers open during the strike. However, longer wait times are to be expected, the group said.