April 15, 2024
News

Nearly 4,000 D.C., Virginia, and Maryland healthcare workers overwhelmingly vote to approve a strike at Kaiser Permanente

Largest single-employer union negotiation in the U.S. inches closer to strike over unfair labor practices

Healthcare workers say Kaiser’s refusal to acknowledge under-staffing, decline in patient care is driving a growing crisis 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 3,800 D.C., Virginia, and Maryland healthcare workers who are part of OPEIU Local 2 announced on Monday that they have voted to authorize a strike to protest unfair labor practices by a margin of 98 percent if no agreement is reached by September 30. This comes on the heels of nearly 65,000 SEIU members in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Southwest Washington voting to authorize a strike at Kaiser Permanente in the past two weeks. 

This could be the largest healthcare strike in U.S. history, as workers say Kaiser executives refuse to acknowledge the decline in patient service and care and negate the struggle of the workforce to keep up with the high cost of living in areas where Kaiser operates.

“We’ve been raising the alarm about patient safety, but Kaiser isn’t hearing us. Kaiser executives keep refusing to listen to frontline healthcare workers on the issues that impact the care of our patients, and they’re violating the law by failing to bargain in good faith,” said Katrina Schaetz, OB-GYN clinical assistant. “We are standing up for more staff and better patient care. If Kaiser doesn't stop committing unfair labor practices, healthcare workers are prepared to go on strike.”

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Kaiser Health Care Workers Voting on Strike Authorization

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.”

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Celebrating Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth

Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19, is a day of profound meaning to Black workers, as it should be to all working people who enjoy and defend the freedom to live our own lives, speak with our own voices and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

The labor movement knows firsthand the economic disparities that persist for Black Americans in our workplaces. Though explicit slavery has been abolished for more than 150 years, the exploitation of Black labor continues to this day through a systemically racist economy designed to promote wage disparity in the workplace and the chronic unemployment, underemployment and economic exploitation of Black people.

As Juneteenth approaches, we're reminded of how much further we, as a labor movement, still have to go to fulfill the promise of liberty and justice for all.

We must remain at the tip of the spear to uproot systemic racism in all forms if we seek to fully uphold America’s promise of dignity for Black people. We must be a voice for all who live and work in these United States and to say out loud the names of those who were taken from us by racist violence.

Click 

here

 to learn more about the history of Juneteenth.


 


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Memorial Day

Memorial Day

This weekend, we honor all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Memorial Day, which began in the years following the U.S. Civil War, is a solemn day that remembers those killed in action while in uniform.

OPEIU wishes you and your loved ones a reflective and restful Memorial Day weekend, while we pause to honor all service personnel lost while serving our country.

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May is AAPI Heritage Month!

May is AAPI Heritage Month!

This month, we honor the contributions, cultures, histories and heritage of our AAPI siblings! AAPI Heritage Month is a celebratory reminder of AAPI workers’ countless contributions, past and present.

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