PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington began a three-day strike Wednesday morning, joining about 75,000 other workers on the picket line after a contract deal was not reached Tuesday night.
The regional strikes affect Kaiser Permanente facilities at Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, Cascade Park Medical Offices in Vancouver, North Lancaster Medical Offices in Salem and Kaiser Permanente Longview-Kelso Medical Office in Longview.
Workers across Kaiser’s hospitals and facilities pushed for safe staffing, along with boosted wages and benefits.
About 4,000 union members at Kaiser in Oregon and Southwest Washington are on strike, including technicians, nursing assistants, home health aides, and housekeepers. Kaiser has brought in temporary workers to help fill in, but Kaiser officials say some non-emergency and elective services are being rescheduled.
If you have a doctor’s appointment, Kaiser says you will be contacted if it is being rescheduled.
Shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, Kaiser Permanente told KOIN 6 News bargaining was ongoing, “and several agreements over specific provisions have been reached. Our team is available 24/7 to continue bargaining with the Coalition until we reach a fair and equitable agreement. We remain optimistic that there is still time to find agreement before any of the work stoppages called by the Coalition unions begin at 6 a.m. on Wednesday.”
The union said in their most recent update that they want a $25 per hour minimum wage and Kaiser offered $21.
Union organizers said the strike will remain until 6 a.m. Saturday.
Staff ranging from CNAs to x-ray and respiratory technicians, housekeepers, and more join the hundreds of Oregon’s Kaiser Permanente pharmacy technicians and workers who started their 21-day strike on Sunday through UFCW Local 555.
Kaiser Permanente released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying, in part:
We remain committed to reaching a new agreement that continues to provide our employees with market-leading wages, excellent benefits, generous retirement income plans, and valuable professional development opportunities.
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.