37,000 Kaiser employees in California vote to strike

While a national strike by Kaiser workers would be the largest U.S. strike since 1997, it would also affect more than 1,200 employees in Fresno.

Kaiser Permanente’s California employees voted to authorize an unfair labor practices strike against their employer during a vote ending on Friday, its union announced Monday.

More than 37,000 ballots cast by Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) union members – whose job duties range from nurse practitioners to janitors for the Oakland-headquartered nonprofit hospital network – voted in support of a strike.


That figure penciled out to 98 percent in favor of striking.

A national contract with SEIU-UHW expired last September. In December, the National Labor Relations Board charged Kaiser with failing to negotiate in good faith and attempting to tie collective bargaining to a ban on political activity.

Kaiser issued a statement saying that its latest offer, issued last week, did not include pay cuts or changes to its pension program.

“To be clear, Kaiser Permanente has presented a contract proposal that would provide annual pay increases that would keep our employees compensated higher than market averages and maintain excellent benefits,” Kaiser said.

SEIU-UHW represents 1,200 Kaiser employees in Fresno alone.

The California vote is a precursor to votes in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, expanding the number of strike-eligible workers to more than 80,000.

A nationwide SEIU-UHW/Kaiser strike starting in October would constitute the largest strike since 1997.

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