100K Kaiser Permanente employees prepare to strike next week
The union representing more than 100,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington plans to strike and strike next week to protest the lack of progress in contract negotiations.
Since October 1st, at least 32,000 Kaiser Permanente employees have worked without a contract Plan to start an unrestricted strike on Monday Unless their union has previously reached an agreement with the non-profit integrated health system based in Oakland, California. They will join the ranks of approximately 750 North Caesars permanent engineers in California who have been on strike due to wages and working conditions since mid-September. Over the next week, other unions representing Kaiser Permanente employees plan to strike on November 18 or participate in a one-day sympathy strike to support their colleagues.
“For months, we have been trying to [Kaiser Permanente] Executives discuss how we can work together to solve key staffing issues, but every time we get patrons and rejections,” Roland Lucas, a physical therapist at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, California, and a member of the United Nurses Association of California (Roland Lucas) The head of the health care professional negotiating team said at a press conference: “Strikes are always the last resort for health care professionals, and this should emphasize the seriousness of the situation. “
Numerous unions representing various employees participated in contract negotiations. The largest participant is the Alliance of Healthcare Alliances, a federation of 21 labor organizations, including the California Nurses Association/Association of Healthcare Professionals, Hawaii Nurses and Healthcare Professionals, and Oregon Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Alliance Can. Other groups representing Kaiser Permanente employees include the Service Employees International Union and the National Health Care Workers Union.
Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president of human resources at Kaiser Permanente, said in a statement that not actually stopping work after the strike notice is a common negotiation strategy.
“We still hope to avoid any labor disruption through our ongoing negotiations. We believe that continuing discussions at the negotiating table is the best way to resolve issues and disagreements and reach an agreement. We take any threats that undermine care seriously, especially as we Continue to fight this epidemic,” Pisnar said.
Jeffrey Daitz, co-chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Hall Booth Law Firm, said that the current high tensions between employers and workers across the country are largely due to the COVID- 19 There are many unknowns regarding the pandemic. Smith.
“The problem is, sitting there, locking in and promising to pay wages and benefits, we don’t know what will happen,” Ditz said. He said that employers have felt the pressure of the pandemic, which makes it difficult to find workers and makes operations more challenging.
A major obstacle to reaching an agreement between Kaiser Permenente and its union was the two-level salary system proposed by Kaiser Permanente, which would provide new employees with lower salaries than existing employees.
Dave Regan, president of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents 58,000 Kaiser Permanente employees, said graded compensation arrangements are “toxic” because they allow workers to compete with each other and threaten the strength of unions. Union members are currently voting to decide whether to authorize a sympathy strike.
Reagan said that Kaiser Permenente is using the COVID-19 pandemic as a cover to “bargain very, very aggressively.” Reagan said: “You are absolutely wrong to use the pandemic to try to make concessions to those who have been doing extraordinary work.”
The health system sees things in a different way and claims that its refusal to yield to the demands of the union has led to higher costs.
“The truth is that wages and benefits account for half of Kaiser Permanente’s operating costs. We ask our union to work with us to solve this very real problem, just as we deal with other challenges in the relationship process,” Pisnar said.
In the third quarter, Kaiser Permanente’s operating margin is 0.2%According to the company, this is due to a drop in the influx of expensive COVID-19 patients compared to 2.1% a year ago.
Deitz said that if the strike continues, the health system and labor unions may face high expenses.
“It is difficult to fund the strike. It is very difficult for both parties,” Ditz said. He said that not only must employers provide emergency personnel for striking workers, but they may also need to arrange safety measures on the picket line. Unions usually use funds set aside for labor actions to compensate strikers, but these funds are limited.
Debru Carthan, chief radiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Modesto, California, said that Kaiser Permanente employees would rather not go on strike. Carthan is a member of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West and has worked in the health system for 25 years.
“After all, our patients will miss us when we are away,” Carthan said. But “morale is low,” she said.
“Kaiser used to be the best place to work. Everyone wants to enter Kaiser. Now, people are like,’I don’t want to be here,’ which is not good,” Carthan said. “You have an employer against you.”