More than 75,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente will strike as contract negotiations failed to reach an agreement over the weekend.
The workers’ contract with the healthcare nonprofit expired on Saturday, September 30.
The disputes are primarily on staffing levels, better compensation, and improved benefits.
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, representing the workers, has accused Kaiser of negotiating in bad faith and engaging in unfair labor practices.
They have issued an ultimatum to Kaiser.
It states if the firm doesn’t take “dramatic action now to solve the Kaiser short-staffing crisis by investing in its workforce,” the strike will start on Wednesday, October 4.
The strike would impact numerous Kaiser facilities across states, including California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Kaiser Permanente serves nearly 13 million patients and operates 39 hospitals and over 600 medical offices across eight states and the nation’s capital.
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The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions comprises a wide range of healthcare workers.
They include medical assistants, surgical and lab technicians, pharmacists, and administrative staff.
Kaiser is optimistic agreement can be made
A Kaiser spokesperson said negotiations are ongoing and expressed optimism that an agreement can be reached to avert the strike.
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Kaiser has also claimed to have contingency plans to ensure that patients continue to receive care during any potential work stoppage.
The union said short staffing has long plagued the healthcare sector.
It resulted in unsafe patient wait times and declined the quality of care provided at Kaiser facilities.
Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, said: “Kaiser executives refuse to acknowledge how much patient care has deteriorated or how much the frontline healthcare workforce and patients are suffering because of the Kaiser short-staffing crisis.”