On Wednesday, an estimated 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers across five states and Washington DC walked out in the largest health care workers strike in US history. After several days of negotiations over fair labor practices and higher wages, company and union members failed to reach a compromise.
Both groups “are still at the bargaining table, having worked through the night in an effort to reach an agreement,” the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions said in a statement, noting there “has been a lot of progress.”
Last month, health care workers threatened to go on strike if Kaiser didn’t agree to increased pay and solutions to the ongoing staff shortage, among other demands, before the union contract’s expiration on Saturday. While the strike is set to last for three days, union members say that they’re prepared to extend it to November if necessary.
“This is a difficult decision, and we know it will require sacrifices of us all,” wrote the Coalition. “but Kaiser executives continue to bargain in bad faith over the solutions we urgently need to the Kaiser short staffing crisis and the safety and well being of our patients and workers is on the line.”
As my colleague, Ruth Murai reported, the hospitals have a contingency plan in place to ensure continued operation.