The union representing thousands of Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers in Southern California said today its members have voted to authorize a strike, which the union says would likely “cripple” Kaiser’s operations locally.
Kaiser Permanente is headquartered in Pasadena and has medical offices and pharmacies throughout the city.
The United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals said 96% of 18,209 participating members working at the group’s Southern California hospitals and clinics voted this month in favor of authorizing the strike, if necessary.
As required by law, UNAC/UHCP must give the hospitals 10 days notice before work stoppages can begin, which the union said in a statement would be the largest strike in the country so far this year.
UNAC/UHCP says it represents nearly 21,000 Kaiser Permanente registered nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physical therapists, and other health care professionals
in Southern California.
The union, which is seeking 4% wage increases each year through 2023, says the company wants to cut wages for healthcare workers amid major staffing shortages.
In a statement, Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president of human resources at Kaiser Permanente, said Kaiser Permanente is continuing to work with the union’s umbrella organization, the Alliance of Health Care Unions on reaching an agreement. Negotiations had been ongoing since April.
“We ask that our employees reject a call to walk away from the patients who need them. Our priority is to continue to provide our members with high-quality, safe care. In the event of any kind of work stoppage, our facilities will be staffed by our physicians along with trained and experienced managers and contingency staff,” Peasnall said in a statement.
According to the union, a potential strike would affect hospitals and medical centers in Anaheim, Bakersfield, Baldwin Park, Downey, Fontana, Irvine, Los Angeles, Ontario Vineyard, Panorama City, Riverside, San Diego, West Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills, as well as numerous clinics and medical office buildings throughout Southern California.