About 75,000 workers have issued a 10-day unfair labor practice strike notice to Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser is the largest nonprofit health care provider in the country.
Kaiser nurses held an informational picket last week. Emergency room technicians, nursing assistants, housekeepers, phlebotomists and medical assistants also participated.
The workers' contract ends Sept. 30 so this week is essentially the final countdown for both sides to reach a deal. The last contract was negotiated in 2019. And workers say the pandemic just worsened working conditions and understaffing.
Scripps News' Lindsey Theis spoke with Georgette Bradford, one of the bargaining team members and an ultrasound sonographer.
"I have patients that come and have told me they've waited months to get an appointment. Consider how you would feel if you had to wait months to come in to find out about a lump in your breast. That's just unconscionable. I have a family member that waited 268 days to get an MRI appointment. That is wholly unacceptable," said Bradford.
Striking would be at different locations Oct. 4 through 6. The union says would be the biggest strike by health care workers in U.S. history.
The strike would impact Kaiser Permanente facilities in California, Colorado, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia and Washington.
Kaiser has said it plans to keep services in place should a strike happen, and issued a new press statement saying, "for the last 26 years of our historic labor-management partnership, we have reached agreements with the coalition every time, with no strikes. A strike notice does not mean a strike will happen."
The health nonprofit is one of the nation's biggest providers, serving more than 12 million patients per year.
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