Tens of thousands of Kaiser Permanente employees in California and other states plan to go on strike Wednesday after union contracts expired for a huge swath of the Kaiser workforce.
The planned strike involves several labor organizations that are part of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. The biggest is SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents nearly 60,000 employees in California.
Unions and the healthcare giant have been grappling over wages and other employee issues that coalition leaders argue have contributed to chronic understaffing. Labor leaders have accused Kaiser executives of not bargaining in good faith to address those problems.
Kaiser says it is committed to reaching a fair deal and that it has weathered staffing issues during the COVID-19 pandemic better than other healthcare organizations due to its wages, benefits and other employee support.
Here's what we know about the planned strike:
Will this be a big deal?
Yes. The strike could include more than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and D.C. That's more than a third of the Kaiser workforce across the country.
Union leaders say it would be the biggest strike by healthcare workers in U.S. history.
How long will it last?
In California and several other states, the strike is scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday unless unions and Kaiser Permanente reach an agreement to avert it. No immediate plans to extend the strike beyond three days have been announced.
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