Kaiser imaging workers strike

Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 began a weekslong strike Nov. 1 at five Kaiser Permanente locations in Washington and Oregon.

The union represents hundreds of Kaiser imaging technicians, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Kaiser is an Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit organization with locations in Georgia, Hawaii, California, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Oregon.

Union members are joining Kaiser pharmacy workers, who are also represented by UFCW Local 555, on the picket line as their contract expires. Kaiser pharmacy technicians, clerks and warehouse workers went on strike from Oct. 1-21 and are striking again Oct. 23 to Nov. 18.

"Nothing happens at a hospital without imaging technicians. These professionals include X-ray, mammography, MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, EEG, cardiovascular lab, special procedures technologists, sonographers, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, and imaging assistants. Every part of their operation will be impacted," Miles Eshaia, communications coordinator with UFCW Local 555, said in an Oct. 31 news release. 

The imaging workers' strike began Nov. 1 and will end Nov. 18, with the following locations affected: Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center Campus in Clackamas, Ore.; Kaiser Airport Way Center in Portland, Ore.; Kaiser North Lancaster Medical Office in Salem, Ore.; Kaiser Westside Medical Center Campus in Hillsboro, Ore.; and Kaiser Cascade Park Medical Office in Vancouver, Wash.

"We're disappointed that UFCW Local 555 for Imaging, which represents about 560 Kaiser Permanente Northwest employees, is choosing to strike," a Kaiser spokesperson told Becker's in a statement. "... We remain committed to negotiating in good faith to reach a mutually beneficial contract that includes wage increases and strong benefits, on similar terms as we have with the many other unions which represent our employees."

Imaging departments in Kaiser's hospitals are open, although rescheduling may be needed for some nonurgent imaging appointments, the spokesperson said. Changes to facility schedules will be posted here.

According to the union, pay remains a key sticking point in negotiations. 

The imaging workers strike follows an October strike by tens of thousands of Kaiser workers across the U.S. Kaiser and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which represents more than 11 unions and 80,000 healthcare workers nationwide, reached a tentative four-year deal after that strike.

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