They are part of the largest healthcare strike in U.S. history, with 75,000 Kaiser workers including those in California and Colorado.
Although hospitals and emergency rooms remain open and staffed, both the union and Kaiser say the strike is affecting services. Doctors and registered nurses are not on strike, but temporary workers have been brought in to fill in other gaps – and some clinic appointments and elective surgeries have needed to be rescheduled.
The strike is supposed to end Saturday morning, when both sides could end up back at the bargaining table. Until then, no official talks are underway.
Hundreds of Kaiser Permanente workers from medical and dental clinics in Southwest Washington staged in front of one of the clinics on Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard. Some of the Vancouver clinic workers say they are facing staffing challenges while they help patients with long waits and little time to meet with a doctor.
“Healthcare workers deserve to be heard and respected. A fair contract is what’s right for patients, workers, and everyone involved,” Gov. Tina Kotek said in a social media post.
Kaiser officials said Wednesday evening that tentative agreements had been reached on some issues, though they will not reconvene with union leaders to bargain until the strike is over.
“We are working with Coalition leaders to set the next bargaining session date,” a Kaiser spokesperson told KOIN 6 in a statement on Thursday. “We will work hard to reach an agreement so that together, we can all return to delivering on the mission of Kaiser Permanente for the benefit of our members, patients, employees, physicians, customers, and communities.”
Union leaders say they hope to get back to it when the strike ends at 6 a.m. on Saturday.
Stay with KOIN 6 as we continue our coverage for this story.