July 13, 2024

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Largest Healthcare Group in the US Initiates Strike

Largest Healthcare Group in the US Initiates Strike – Largest in Medical Industry History



 

Largest Healthcare Group in the US Initiates Strike – Largest in Medical Industry History.

One of the largest healthcare groups in the United States, Kaiser Permanente, began a three-day strike on October 4th, involving over 75,000 employees.

This strike spans six states and impacts nearly 13 million people, marking the largest strike in the history of the medical industry.

It adds fuel to the ongoing wave of strikes across various sectors in the United States that have persisted for several months.

 

Largest Healthcare Group in the US Initiates Strike - Largest in Medical Industry History.

 

 

 

The strike will result in Kaiser Permanente suspending non-essential medical services, such as routine check-ups, as radiologists, pharmacists, optometrists, and hundreds of other support staff members have joined the strike. The group has stated that it has reorganized its workforce and hired replacement workers, ensuring that hospitals and emergency services will continue to operate.

Strike rallies are planned in front of Kaiser Permanente hospitals and office buildings in multiple states, including California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington D.C. The group operates 39 hospitals and nearly 700 medical facilities in total.

Kaiser Permanente has reported ongoing negotiations with the union that continued throughout the night of the 3rd of October, suggesting the possibility of an agreement. “On the night of the 3rd, we reached consensus on specific issues, making notable progress,” the group stated.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of healthcare professionals have left their jobs due to excessive work pressures, leading to strained labor relations in the medical industry. The union alliance representing Kaiser Permanente employees has previously accused the group of intentionally reducing positions through attrition, resulting in a prolonged shortage of personnel and an inability to provide adequate patient care. They have demanded comprehensive increases in compensation to address rising living costs, improved job protections for subcontracted and outsourced employees, enhancements in retirement benefits for former employees, and resolution of the staffing shortage issue, along with improvements in working conditions.

Additionally, the union has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging malicious intent on the part of Kaiser Permanente executives in resolving staffing shortage issues.

Kaiser Permanente has denied these allegations, stating that over the past four years, the group has increased overall wages by at least 12.5%, and minimum hourly wages in various states have risen from $21 to $23.

It is worth noting that the union provided a ten-day strike notice on September 22nd, in accordance with U.S. law. While this advanced notice allows healthcare groups time to rearrange their workforce and establish contingency plans, it can weaken the union’s bargaining leverage.

Labor and employment experts have pointed out that Kaiser Permanente could potentially argue that these striking healthcare professionals are abandoning patients, a tactic that could work in their favor if they gain public support. Convincing the public that the strike is a demonstration of patient care is a more complex challenge for the striking healthcare workers.

Currently, the U.S. labor market faces labor shortages, coupled with high inflation and record profits for large corporations, causing dissatisfaction among regular employees. Large-scale strikes, including those involving Kaiser Permanente, have been occurring one after another in various industries.

The United Auto Workers previously initiated a strike demanding a 40% wage increase and the elimination of job tiers, and the strike is still expanding. Last week, the Writers Guild of America reached an agreement with major Hollywood production companies, including increased royalties, mandatory staffing for television “writers’ rooms,” and protections against AI usage, ending a five-month strike. However, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, representing actors, is still on strike. In Las Vegas, over 50,000 service workers may also initiate a strike soon, protesting staff reductions and increased workloads, with demands similar to those of the healthcare industry strike.

As previously reported by Wall Street News, according to data from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, approximately 3.62 million workers in the United States have engaged in strikes so far this year, compared to just 36,600 during the same period two years ago.

 

 

 

Largest Healthcare Group in the U.S. Initiates Strike

(source:internet, reference only)


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