75,000 Kaiser Healthcare Workers Strike Over Unsafe Staffing

2 Min Read Published October 5, 2023
75,000 Kaiser Healthcare Workers Strike Over Unsafe Staffing

Over 75,000 Kaiser Permanente nurses and healthcare workers launched an unprecedented three-day strike across five states and Washington D.C. on Wednesday. The strike is considered the largest healthcare work stoppage in U.S. history.

Contract Negotiations Stall Over Key Issues

The strike began after contract negotiations failed between the unions representing the workers, including the California Nurses Association and Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, and Kaiser Permanente. The unions are demanding higher pay raises to match increasing costs of living and inflation. Nurses argue their wages have not kept up with the rising costs of housing and living in cities where they work. The unions also accuse Kaiser of unfair labor practices by withholding information during negotiations.

Kaiser Warned Delays Likely During Strike

In response, Kaiser Permanente warned patients the strike could cause delays in their hospitals and clinics. Kaiser encouraged patients to get care before the strike or use online services when possible. The health system said they have hired temporary replacement nurses to fill in during the strike. However, the unions argue temporary nurses cannot provide the same level of care as experienced Kaiser nurses and support staff.

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Staffing Levels & Working Conditions 

In addition to wages, the unions are also demanding improved staffing levels and working conditions. Nurses report being understaffed and overworked, jeopardizing patient care. 

Support For Striking Nurses

Nurses are taking to social media to react to this unprecedented strike and to amplify the issues surrounding the strike. 

@moreperfectunion BREAKING: Over 75,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente have launched the biggest strike in U.S. health care history. The union contract covering these vital health care workers has expired, so now they’re walking out for raises that keep up with inflation, and better patient care. #union #unionworkers #corporategreed #labormovement #workingconditions #economy #workers #strike #walkout #kaiser #kaiserworkers #kaiserpermanente ♬ original sound - More Perfect Union

Talks to Resume But No End in Sight

While both sides have agreed to resume negotiations, there is no end currently in sight for the historic strike. The unions have planned rallies and picket lines outside Kaiser facilities throughout the three-day strike.

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