Thousands of Healthcare Workers Go on Strike

Thousands of Nurses Stage a Huge Strike

( – Roughly 75,000 healthcare workers for Kaiser Permanente went on strike to protest short staffing and low pay. The move, marking the biggest walk-out ever in the medical sector, included technicians, nurses, and other support staff. Workers from multiple states, as well as those in Washington, DC, participated in the event.

Doctors didn’t join the picketers, and Kaiser filled as many empty positions as it could with temporary workers, so hospitals were still able to see patients in need of critical care. Oregon Public Broadcasting shared, however, that many patients with non-urgent issues or plans for elective surgeries needed to reschedule.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions approved three-day strikes for members in California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. It also approved the action for one day in Virginia and Washington, DC, but only for optometrists and pharmacists. The picketers say they were out there for their patients, who are ultimately the ones to suffer the most when the bottom line comes before all else.

Reuters states the union workers feel executives refuse to negotiate with them in good faith, ignoring the increases in living expenses and the effects short staffing has on both patients and other workers. They want better benefits, which would include pay starting at a minimum of $25 per hour, increasing 7% annually for the following two years and 6.25% each year for the following two years. They also want Kaiser to hire 10,000 more workers to remedy their staffing problems.

The Associated Press reports that strikes have been an ongoing issue since the pandemic, when burnout hit many workers harder than ever. Reuters adds that picketers have been stricter on the terms they’re willing to accept, adamant they deserve fair treatment and adequate compensation for their highly skilled work. They might have a point. Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit institution that covers roughly 13 million patients across the United States, reported a net profit of $2.1 billion in the second quarter of 2023 alone.

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