75,000 Kaiser workers plan to strike: 6 things to know

Tens of thousands of Kaiser Permanente employees across the U.S. plan to go on strike early next month if no agreement is reached by Sept. 30. 

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser is bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which represents workers at Kaiser facilities in California, Colorado, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia and Washington. Negotiations began in April. Here are six things to know about negotiations:

1. Unions in the coalition, including the Office and Professional Employees International Union and the Service Employees International Union, announced this month that their members had voted to authorize a strike if no agreement is reached. Their current contracts expire at the end of September.

2. On Sept. 22, the unions' national bargaining team submitted a 10-day notice to Kaiser indicating that coalition unions are calling for their first unfair labor practice strike, and some sympathy strikes, from 6 a.m. Oct. 4 through 6 a.m. Oct. 7. More than 75,000 Kaiser workers plan to strike across California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and Washington, D.C. — making it the nation's largest healthcare worker strike, according to a statement from the coalition.

3. "This is a difficult decision, and we know it will require sacrifices of us all, but Kaiser executives continue to bargain in bad faith over the solutions we urgently need to the Kaiser short staffing crisis and the safety and well-being of our patients and workers is on the line," the coalition said.

4. The unions' decision to issue a 10-day strike notice does not mean a strike will occur. Kaiser said in a statement earlier this month that it is committed to reaching an agreement "that ensures we can continue to provide market-competitive pay and outstanding benefits," and is confident an agreement will be reached by Sept. 30.

5. The largest union in the coalition, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, shared a bargaining update Sept. 24 saying that negotiations continued all weekend. The union said some progress is being made, but an agreement will not be reached without movement from Kaiser on issues including across-the-board raises, performance-sharing bonuses and provisions related to subcontracting and outsourcing.

6. Kaiser, which has emphasized its commitment to bargaining in good faith, said the organization and coalition leaders will continue bargaining throughout this coming week "to reach a mutually beneficial agreement before any work stoppage occurs."

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