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Healthcare staff of Kaiser Permanente launch 3-day long strike || Picture Credits: Reuters
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More than 75,000 healthcare staff of Kaiser Permanente launch 3-day long strike

Washington DC, United States: Over 75,000 nurses and healthcare workers of Kaiser Permanente facilities across the United States came out on the roads to launch a planned three-day strike. Kaiser is the nation’s leading not-for-profit healthcare network and managed-care organization. 

It is to be noted that this strike marks the largest ever in the medical history of the United States, which has been called after “contract talks failed to meet the union deadline for reaching a settlement.” 

As this strike caught public interest, Kaiser Permanente released a statement informing the general population that the hospitals and all the emergency departments would remain open. According to the authorities of the medical institutions, they will be staffed by doctors, managers and ‘contingency workers.’

Various reports have outlined that the prime reason behind strikes over pay and benefits for workers (in numerous fields) in 2023 is inflation as well as the tight US labor market. To be highlighted this year, strong industries like automobile, rail, airlines and entertainment have also witnessed inflation. 

An official statement has been released by Kaiser Permanente in which the authorities outlined that a deadline of 6 am PDT (1300 GMT) Wednesday has been set to reach a deal on a new pact, according to the report by Reuters. 

This pact will be covering medical technicians, nurses as well as support staff in hundreds of hospitals across California, Oregon, Washington state, Colorado, Virginia and Washington DC.

The official statement by the US largest medical institution read, “Both Kaiser Permanente management and coalition union representatives are still at the bargaining table, having worked through the night in an effort to reach an agreement.”

According to the stats shared by the health authorities, Kaiser, across the United States, employs 24,000 doctors, 213,00 medical technicians, clerical workers and administrative staff, as well as 68,000 nurses. 

What do strikers have to say?

Around eight (8) unions have come together to form a coalition representing nurses, technicians and support staff. According to the coalition, the company has failed to negotiate in good faith in talks. According to the medical staff, the previous labor pact has been expired on September 30, and since then, it hasn’t renewed.

Credits: Reuters

The unions further emphasized that they have been striking for improved wages. The staff also expressed concern over the less employment in Kaiser, appealing to the institute to fill more jobs. 

Furthermore, it sheds light on the fact that being the largest medical institution, Kaiser Permanente needs to hire as many as ten thousand (10,000) healthcare workers to fulfill the current demand/ vacancies. 

According to a Kaiser spokeswoman, the impact of the strike will be more substantial in California, Colorado, Oregon and some other parts of southwestern states in Washington. However, in Virginia and Washington DC, a few optometrists and pharmacists will participate in the strike. 

Reportedly, the maximum number of healthcare staff – 68,475 have been protesting in California and 4,000 workers are on the streets of Oregon and Southwest Washington. Following this, 3,000 are protesting in Colorado, along with 180 in Virginia and Washington DC.

Previous strikes: 

According to the stats shared by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data, around 309,700 workers have participated in strikes through August this year. It has been anticipated that 2023 will surpass 2019 and will become the busiest year for strikes in the history of the United States. 

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