Caesars in Hawaii plan to strike this month
Nearly 2,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers in Hawaii plan to strike later this month due to wage and staffing issues.
UNITE HERE Local 5 stated that the strike scheduled to begin on November 22 will affect 20 facilities in Hawaii. Thousands of Caesars medical staff in California have stated that they will go on strike starting Monday.
Local 5 spokesperson Bryant de Venecia (Bryant de Venecia) said on Wednesday that negotiations are continuing. Caesars and the Alliance of Healthcare Alliance began national negotiations in April. Local 5 has also been negotiating with Kaiser on some Hawaii-specific issues.
Local 5 said in a press release that Kaiser’s latest proposal is an “insulting” salary increase of 2%, provided that the union agrees to a two-tier wage system, under which new employees’ wages will be lower. The union stated that Kaiser also failed to address concerns about manpower shortages, while workers reported that they felt stressed and overworked during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kaiser’s senior vice president of human resources, Arlene Peasnall, said in a statement that employees represented by Hawaiian unions earn approximately 26% more than the market average salary. She said that Caesars provides a salary increase of up to 4% per year—an annual salary increase of 2% plus a 2% cash payment in a four-year contract.
“The challenge we are trying to work with our union to solve is the increasingly unaffordable cost of health care….Salaries and benefits account for half of Kaiser Permanente’s operating costs,” she said, Hawaii News now reports.