More than 37,000 workers at the Kaiser Permanente health care corporation in California have voted to authorize a strike in October over unfair labor practices and understaffing. The walkout would be the nation’s largest strike in more than 20 years.
The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, the largest union in a coalition covered by the national contract, voted to support a strike, according to the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. Two-thirds of the union’s members voted, with 98 percent of those voting yes, it said. A total of 80,000 Kaiser workers in several other states, as well as the District of Columbia, will have the chance to vote on the strike through September.
Most contracts covering Kaiser employees will expire in October. The unions and their members accuse the company of bargaining in bad faith and insisting on a restrictive agreement prohibiting sympathy strikes among workers.
“It’s time for this corporation to get back on track and live up to its mission to help patients, workers and communities thrive,” said Heather Wright, a women’s health clerk at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara.
The Fresno Bee, Aug. 13
Los Angeles Times, Aug. 12