800,000+ Union Members in L.A. County Support Strike at Kaiser Permanente
While hospital giant continues unfair labor practices, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, representing 300 unions, will now support the largest U.S. strike since 1997
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor – Christian Castro, (310) 857-9817, firstname.lastname@example.org
SEIU-UHW – Sean Wherley, (323) 893-6831, email@example.com
LOS ANGELES- On Monday, September 16, Los Angeles County labor leaders representing 300 different trade unions voted to support a potential strike by 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers against the hospital giant’s unfair labor practices and ongoing shift that has seen Kaiser go from prioritizing patients and the community to enriching top executives as a nonprofit in name only.
“Kaiser has a choice between returning to the high road, where it can uphold a generation of good faith bargaining that benefits workers, patients and their communities, or continuing down the low road of squeezing profits and sacrificing care,” said Chloe Osmer, Chief of Staff of the LA Fed. “We’re here to tell them that if they take the low road, the working people of Los Angeles County plan to get in the way.”
The vote comes hot on the heels of Labor Day protests in Oakland, Sacramento, and Portland, Ore., where tens of thousands demonstrated against Kaiser’s failure to bargain in good faith.
“This promises to be the biggest strike since the UPS strike of 1997,” said Ron Herrera, Teamsters International Vice President, Western Region. “I was on that picket line, and I can promise you that when tens of thousands of workers stand up for their jobs and their communities, their communities have their backs.”
The strike is set to begin early October and affect more than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente employees nationwide, of which 66,000 are based in California – including 17,000 in Los Angeles County. It would be the largest walkout since 185,000 Teamsters went on strike at United Parcel Service in 1997.
“Workers’ and patients’ lives are at stake,” said Gabriel Montoya, an emergency medical technician and 11-year Kaiser employee. “Outsourcing the jobs of experienced hospital staff makes care worse and hurts the communities anchored by good union jobs.”
Why are Kaiser workers preparing to strike if needed?
While Kaiser Permanente is a “non-profit,” it has reported profits of $11 billion since Jan. 1, 2017, including $5.2 billion just in the first half of 2019. In addition, it has amassed more than $37 billion in reserves and pays at least 36 executives more than $1 million annually. As Kaiser profits and executive pay skyrocket, Kaiser is raising prices on patients, undermining quality healthcare, and refusing to bargain good faith.