Nearly 4,000 healthcare workers in the Washington D.C. region have voted to approve a strike at Kaiser Permanente in protest of what they believe are unfair labor practices. These workers, who are part of OPEIU Local 2 representing the District, Maryland, and Virginia, have expressed concerns about understaffing, declining patient care, and wages that have not kept pace with the high cost of living.
Union officials argue that Kaiser has ignored their reports on patient safety and has failed to acknowledge the issues facing frontline healthcare workers. Katrina Schaetz, an OB-GYN Clinical Assistant, stated, “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.”
If an agreement is not reached by September 30, these workers are prepared to go on strike, joining approximately 65,000 SEIU healthcare workers in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington who have already voted to authorize a strike at Kaiser Permanente in the last two weeks.
The strike is a plea for more staff and better patient care. Healthcare workers believe that Kaiser Permanente must address their concerns and stop committing unfair labor practices. They argue that improved staffing levels and higher wages are necessary to ensure the well-being of both patients and healthcare workers.
– OPEIU Local 2