WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) — Friday is the final day of the Kaiser Permanente employee strike, which began on Wednesday. This strike will be the largest health care strike the U.S. has ever seen.
Nationwide, the strike will include 75,000 employees. The strike will affect hospitals in seven states, including Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., and California.
Almost 60,000 California workers are striking, including 20,000 in the Bay Area.
The health care workers said they are protesting unfair labor practices and are in search of better treatment from executives, better pay, better staffing, and performance bonuses.
Contracts expired over the weekend. Union officials said there have been good discussions, but the two parties remain far apart.
Ultimately, workers are hoping for a 6.5 percent raise in the first year of a four-year contract. However, currently, the talk remains at around 3 percent.
Kaiser says it has offered $23 an hour in California and $21 outside of California.
Kaiser recently released a statement on Thursday to its members stating, “Together, we have faced the toughest challenges over the past three years. Kaiser Permanente, our industry, and our employees are now operating in a new cultural, labor, and post-pandemic environment that we are all working hard to understand. We are committed to finding workable solutions for this new environment that meet our responsibility to balance taking care of our employees and being affordable to our members.”
As of Thursday morning, Kaiser emergency rooms and hospitals will remain open, but non-urgent procedures and appointments may need to be rescheduled during this three-day strike. Patients need to be prepared to have longer wait times until an agreement is made.
Kaiser has said it has already met its goal of hiring 10,000 employees by the end of the year. Kaiser issued a statement, “We will coordinate with coalition leaders to reconvene bargaining as soon as possible. We will work hard to reach an agreement so that together, we can all return to delivering on the mission of Kaiser Permanente…”