A potential strike by health care workers nationwide could soon be affecting a medical center near you.
Kaiser Permanente workers across America are gearing up for a strike authorization vote, which is set to take place on Saturday.
The labor negotiations affect 85,000 Kaiser health care workers represented by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.
The major concerns employees are voicing include what they claim are a series of unfair practices related to securing a new contract and a lack of action on what they call “unsafe” staffing levels lingering since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a crisis that demands our attention and our action,” said respiratory therapist Liz Grigsby at a press conference on Thursday. “We must hold Kaiser accountable until they make a change and provide us with the staffing we need and deserve so we can provide the best care and support for our patients’ needs.”
The looming strike may affect 23 Southern California Kaiser Permanente locations.
“Standing up for our patients is our priority, so we’re prepared to vote yes for an unfair labor practice strike if that’s what it takes,” said Gabe Montoya, an emergency room technician at Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.
Health care workers have until Sept. 16 to vote. If the strike is authorized, it could begin on Oct. 1.
If authorized, the strike will join the list of industries that have endured walkouts in 2023, including the ongoing strike between actors and writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the recently settled UPS workers strike.