SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Kaiser Permamente employees in San Diego voted to join a nationwide strike against the healthcare giant starting Oct. 14.
More than 4,000 members of OPEIU Local 30 supported the action, a union spokesperson said. Workers say they want to “protect middle-class jobs with wages and benefits that can support families.”
Hundreds of positions would be affected, including x-ray, pharmacy, and surgical technicians, phlebotomists, optometrists, and housekeepers.
“We believe the only way to ensure our patients get the best care is to take this step,” said Robert Sparrow, an x-ray technician. “Our goal is to get Kaiser to stop committing unfair labor practices and get back on track as the best place to work and get care. There is no reason for Kaiser to let a strike happen when it has the resources to invest in patients, communities and workers.”
Picket lines will be established at Kaiser Permanente hospitals, medical office buildings, and other facilities in six states and Washington, D.C.
Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson issued a statement which reads:
“While the Kaiser Permanente management team was actively engaged in negotiations at the bargaining table, SEIU-UHW released a strike announcement on 9/16 – an overt effort to gain leverage in bargaining.
“This has been an ongoing pattern during this entire process with SEIU-UHW, as they believe that an aggressive approach such as using negative corporate campaigning and threats of strike is the way to get a better offer than what our other unions have received.
“We are in this situation because of the aggressive approach of SEIU-UHW leadership, but our approach remains the same: we are committed to offering a package that’s aligned with all of our other unions that keeps our employees among the best paid in wages and benefits in the industry. We are committed to our workforce who delivers on our mission every day and to our members’ demand for greater affordability of care and coverage from Kaiser Permanente.
“I hope we will not have a strike on October 14, and we are preparing to deal with all scenarios to make sure our members are cared for.”