Over 75,000 US health care workers go on strike, largest in nation’s history
More than 75,000 health care workers launched a strike on Wednesday at hospitals and medical centers across six U.S. states and Washington, D.C., the largest walkout by health care employees in U.S. history.
The striking employees work for Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the U.S., serving 13 million people.
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, representing about 85,000 of the health system's employees nationally, approved a strike for three days in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, and for one day in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
The dispute centers on what the coalition said is a severe staffing shortage that puts Kaiser workers patients and workers in jeopardy. The workers involved include nurses, orderlies, radiology and lab technicians, respiratory therapists and housekeepers.
Kaiser workers contend that chronic understaffing is boosting the company's bottom line but harming patients and staff morale. Kaiser maintains it's doing the best it can in an industry with a shortage of workers.
Kaiser workers are burning themselves 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," Jessica Cruz, a licensed vocational nurse at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center, said in an emailed statement.