Over 30,000 union nurses, support staff plan to strike on Monday – CBS News


imageMore than 30,000 Kaiser Permanente employees intend to strike on Monday due to a labor dispute.After battling the coronavirus pandemic for more than 20 months, union nurses and support staff are asking for higher pay and better working conditions beginning Monday.

“On Monday, 35,000 workers will begin an indefinite strike at Kaiser Permanente across multiple states,” says a press release from the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.”These union workers have been bargaining with Kaiser over staffing levels, wages, and working conditions as members of the Alliance of Healthcare Unions, 3,400 of which are in Oregon and Southwest Washington.”

Registered nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physical therapists and other health professionals will likely hit the picket line Monday if a deal is not reached.Workers plan to strike in Oregon, Washington, California and other states.

A strike is expected to impact 366 Kaiser facilities in Southern California, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Kaiser, an Oakland-based company, is warning its members there may be a disruption to services if the strike takes place.Kaiser’s pharmacies would temporarily close and some appointments might have to be changed to virtual care, including phone or video visits, the company says.

Kaiser’s doctors are not participating in the strike

“While we intend to keep hospitals, emergency departments, and urgent care departments open throughout the duration of any union activity, we are actively coordinating with community hospitals and other needed clinical providers to help with patient needs,” Kaiser said in a message to its members,” according to CBS Los Angeles .

Some appointments, elective surgeries, and procedures — including non-urgent appointments — have already been canceled or rescheduled.Members will be contacted in advance if their appointments must be changed, and those who need to refill a prescription should do so through Kaiser’s mail order delivery service.

More than 96% of Kaiser Permanente’s nurses and healthcare workers, who are members of the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Professionals, voted to authorize a strike last month.

If the strike happens, up to 80,000 healthcare workers who belong to different unions are expected to join the strike in unison, later next week.

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