Kaiser Permanente workers striking for higher pay and less staffing shortages (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Photo courtesy of NPR)

Kaiser Permanente Workers Lead Historic Strike

In the wake of one of the largest summers for labor activism in the history of the U.S., healthcare workers have become a part of the movement.

Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest healthcare companies in the United States, and on the 4th of October, over 75,000 workers went on strike in the eight states the company operates in. This resulted in the largest healthcare strike in U.S. history. The three-day walk-out was sparked by a severe short-staffing trend in the company, with low pay to compensate for it. Strikers argued that understaffing was beginning to negatively impact patients.

The strike concluded on October 7th, in favor of the workers. Kaiser Permanente proclaimed that they would address the issue of short staffing in the company, and over the course of the next 4 years, increase the pay of workers by 21%. The acting Labor Secretary of the Biden administration, Julie Su (she/her), helped both sides come to an agreement on the final proposal. The new collective bargaining agreement is set to be ratified on October 18th. Had this agreement not come to resolution, the workers were prepared to go on strike again in November.

This strike comes after a movement dubbed “hot labor summer,” with multiple industries going on strike for better contracts. A majority of the filmmaking industry went on strike over the course of the summer, with the Writers Guild (WGA) and Screenwriters and Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) going on strike in May and July. Just as the film industry was coming to a tentative agreement on negotiations, the United Auto Workers (UAW) started a strike in mid-September that is ongoing. With the successes of Kaiser Permanente workers in their negotiation, alongside the WGA and SAG-AFTRA seeing positive results, 2023 has been an historic year in terms of labor unionization.

Kaiser Permanente workers striking for higher pay and less staffing shortages (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Photo courtesy of NPR)
Kaiser Permanente workers striking for higher pay and less staffing shortages (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Photo courtesy of NPR)

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