Green Asia

More than 75,000 US health care workers begin 3-day strike

LOS ANGELES: Tens of thousands of healthcare workers in the United States walked off the job on Wednesday (Oct 4), beginning one of the sector’s largest strikes in recent history over what they say is a staffing shortage, as America’s year of labour discontent rolled on.

The walkout of more than 75,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente, the country’s largest non-profit health care organization, comes as surging inflation has spurred industrial action across the US, from Hollywood actors to Detroit autoworkers.

“Kaiser executives are refusing to listen to us and are bargaining in bad faith over the solutions we need to end the Kaiser short-staffing crisis,” vocational nurse Jessica Cruz, who works at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center, said in a union statement.

“I see my patients’ frustrations when I have to rush them and hurry on to my next patient. That’s not the care I want to give.

“We’re burning ourselves out trying to do the jobs of two or three people, and our patients suffer when they can’t get the care they need due to Kaiser’s short staffing.”

Kaiser Permanente locations in Washington DC, Virginia, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state were expected to be affected by the three-day strike.

Kaiser said centres would remain open, but warned there would be “longer-than-usual” wait times.

A Kaiser spokesman told journalists on Tuesday that talks were continuing.

“Several agreements over specific provisions have been reached” with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, he spokesman said, adding negotiators were prepared to meet around the clock “until we reach a fair and equitable agreement”.

The union, which says this will be the largest healthcare worker strike in US history, is pushing for pay increases and protections against subcontracting and outsourcing of labour.

It has threatened to engage in further strike action in November “if Kaiser continues to commit unfair labour practices.


Wednesday’s strike comes during a year in which the US has seen an unusually high level of industrial action as workers struggle with inflation levels not seen in a generation.

Higher prices have reduced the purchasing power of shoppers across the country, while the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) has led to concerns about the automation of growing numbers of jobs.

Industrial action is ongoing in Detroit, where the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is engaged in its first-ever joint strike action against the “Big Three” auto makers – GM, Ford and Chrysler maker Stellantis – in a push for higher pay and better working conditions.

More than 25,000 workers are on strike in 21 states – around 17 percent of UAW’s 146,000 members – as talks continue.

And in Hollywood, a months-long joint strike by writers and actors brought California’s lucrative film industry to a halt, stopping production and broadcast of major movie and TV productions.

While the writers have since agreed on a deal to return to work, actors represented by the SAF-AFTRA union were on the picket lines Wednesday, even as their negotiators met with studios for a second full day of talks.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button