The largest healthcare strike was set off Wednesday, as more than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente employees across multiple states hit the picket line for better pay and staffing.
Here are four things to know about the strike:
1. How long will the Kaiser Permanente strike last?
Workers in California, as well as Colorado, Oregon and Washington, plan to strike until Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
Employees are assembling with chants, bells and posters at three Sacramento-area hospitals: the Sacramento Medical Center in Arden Arcade, South Sacramento Medical Center and Roseville Medical Center.
2. With 75,000 healthcare workers, this is the biggest strike of its kind
According to the Wednesday Bee Report, labor experts said that the healthcare industry has never seen a strike this big before.
It’s so widespread, that leaders of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions said the Biden administration’s labor advisors are monitoring it.
The coalition said the strike is expected to run until 6 a.m. Saturday.
3. Kaiser employees want improved pay and staffing
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and management negotiators are bargaining, attempting to resolve the issue of pay and staffing.
The coalition represents about 88,000 employees, including clinical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians, medical assistants and licensed vocational nurses.
“We’re here to make sure that our members are aware — but also the community is aware — of the staffing crisis right now and the fight and struggle that we’re having in bargaining with our employer, Kaiser,” Georgette Bradford, an ultrasound technologist at Kaiser Permanente told the media Tuesday at the Sacramento Medical Center.
Employees are highlighting how staffing conditions are affecting them and their patients.
“Kaiser executives are refusing to listen to us and are bargaining in bad faith over the solutions we need to end the Kaiser short-staffing crisis,” Jessica Cruz, a licensed vocational nurse at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center, told The Bee in a story published Monday.
“I see my patients’ frustrations when I have to rush them and hurry on to my next patient. That’s not the care I want to give. We’re burning ourselves out trying to do the jobs of two or three people, and our patients suffer when they can’t get the care they need due to Kaiser’s short-staffing.”
4. What Kaiser has to say and what this means for patients
Kaiser issued a statement, confirming that its hospitals and emergency centers will remain open during the labor strikes.
“As a result of this strike, we may experience high call volumes resulting in longer than usual wait times. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience,” the healthcare company said.
The medical center will reach out to patients in the case that some non-urgent appointments and procedures may need to be rescheduled.
It added that some facilities, such as pharmacies and labs, may be closed temporarily or will operate during limited hours. Patients can check online for the latest updates.