More than 24,000 nurses, health workers sanction strike

More than 24,000 nurses, health workers sanction strike

More than 24,000 Kaiser Permanente nurses and other health care professionals in California and Oregon authorized a strike and threatened to leave because of wages and working conditions affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to an Associated Press report.

Kaiser, one of the country’s largest healthcare providers, has proposed a two-tier wage and benefits system that will provide younger workers with lower wages and less health protection. The unions want Kaiser to abandon this plan. They also want a 4% increase for each of the next three years and a commitment to hiring more nurses to reduce staff shortages. Kaiser has bid at 1% a year, with additional lump sums, and says he needs to cut labor costs to stay competitive.

The regional strike vote takes place during national contract negotiations between Kaiser and the Alliance of Health Care Unions, which represent more than 20 unions, covering more than 50,000 Kaiser employees nationwide. More strike orders could come in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Washington state, and the District of Columbia, unions said.

Weekend numbers do not automatically lead to work interruptions. The union must notify Kaiser Permanente 10 days before the workers leave and both parties continue to negotiate after the last contract expires on September 30th.

The strike authorization covers nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physical therapists, and others who are represented by the United California Nurses Associations / Health Professionals Union. Nearly 7,000 United Steelworkers union members, including janitors, customer service representatives, and technicians pharmacy, voted to go on strike if necessary.

“We ask our employees to decline a call to get away from the patients they need. Our priority is to continue to provide safe, high-quality care to our member’s doctors, along with trained and experienced managers and emergency responders,” replied Kaiser Permanente.

The Times reported that Kaiser’s proposal would reduce the salary scale for nearly all job categories represented by the union alliance from 26% to 39% for new appointments starting in January 2023, according to Jane Carter, labor economist, and director of research. corporate regulation and public order. If implemented, this “two-tier” system could create resentment among workers who pay different rates for the same job, increase employee turnover and undermine efforts to attract and retain skilled workers, Carter said.

“They don’t explain their reasons for these draconian cuts they’re proposing, even though it’s so lucrative,” Carter said.

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