LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Thousands of registered nurses and health care workers are caring for Kaiser Permanente patients without a union contract for the first time in decades as of midnight on October 1. The employer refused a customary 30-day extension, leaving the nearly 24,000 members of UNAC/UHCP to continue voting on a strike authorization through October 10.
Within 12 hours of strike authorization voting, 54% of eligible UNAC/UHCP members had cast a vote. A strike authorization vote gives the bargaining team the option of calling a strike if absolutely necessary. As required, the employer would get a 10-day notice before workers would take the ultimate step for lasting improvements for the sake of patients and workers.
«We’re concerned about the future of nursing and how we recruit and retain nurses and other health care professionals to serve our communities for years to come,» said Denise Duncan, RN, president of UNAC/UHCP and a registered nurse. «We can no longer sit back and watch the employer continue to dismantle the progress we made in quality patient care and health plan membership growth.»
Health care employees—represented by UNAC/UHCP and other unions in the Alliance of Health Care Unions—worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that Kaiser Permanente patients and families received quality care and compassion.
Unionized workers saved Kaiser Permanente and brought the organization back from the brink of collapse in the 1990s. Today, Kaiser Permanente serves one in four Californians and others in states across the country.
Yet Kaiser Permanente—sitting on $44.5 billion in reserves—wants to slash wages for new nurses and depress wages for current workers trying to keep up with rising costs for food, housing, and other essentials. See details on the unacceptable 1% raise and divisive two-tier wage structure here: https://www.investinpatientcare.com/two-tier-takeaways
Front-line workers hailed as heroes in 2020 are now targets and liabilities, according to numerous employer tactics and statements. Kaiser Permanente patients and the public can go to www.investinpatientcare.com to sign UNAC/UHCP’s petition calling for Kaiser Permanente to invest in patient care and the people who provide the care.
United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents more than 32,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals in California and Hawaii, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.
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SOURCE United Nurses Associations of California / Union of Health Care Professionals