24,000 UNAC/UHCP RNs and health care professionals remain committed to fighting for staffing and other solutions. In 12 hours, 54% of eligible members had cast a vote in strike authorization as one of the industry’s best contracts expires: www.investinpatientcare.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 1, 2021
Jeff Rogers | firstname.lastname@example.org | (909) 263-7230
Anjetta Thackeray | email@example.com | (909) 455-5146
Note: Union officers and bargaining team members, nurses, and other health care professionals are available for television, radio, and print interviews.
Health Care Heroes Work Without a Contract as Kaiser Permanente Sits on Billions of Dollars; Threatens Future of Patient Care with Extreme Proposals
LOS ANGELES—Thousands of registered nurses and health care workers are caring for Kaiser Permanente patients without a union contract for the first time in decades as of midnight on October 1. The employer refused a customary 30-day extension, leaving more than 20,000 members of UNAC/UHCP to continue voting on a strike authorization through October 10.
Within 12 hours of strike authorization voting, 54% of eligible UNAC/UHCP members had cast a vote. A strike authorization vote gives the bargaining team the option of calling a strike if absolutely necessary. As required, the employer would get a 10-day notice before workers would take the ultimate step for lasting improvements for the sake of patients and workers.
“We’re concerned about the future of nursing and how we recruit and retain nurses and other health care professionals to serve our communities for years to come,” said Denise Duncan, RN, president of UNAC/UHCP. “We can no longer sit back and watch the employer continue to dismantle the progress we made in quality patient care and health plan membership growth.”
Health care employees—represented by UNAC/UHCP and other unions in the Alliance of Health Care Unions—worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that Kaiser Permanente patients and families received quality care and compassion.
Unionized workers saved Kaiser Permanente and brought the organization back from the brink of collapse in the 1990s. Today, Kaiser Permanente is a successful health-care giant—serving one in four Californians and others in states across the country.
Yet Kaiser Permanente—sitting on $44.5 billion in reserves—wants to slash wages for new nurses and depress wages for current workers trying to keep up with rising costs for food, housing, and other essentials.
See details on the employer’s unacceptable 1% raise and divisive two-tier wage structure here: https://www.investinpatientcare.com/two-tier-takeaways
Front-line workers hailed as heroes in 2020 are now targets and liabilities, according to numerous employer tactics and statements. Kaiser Permanente patients and the public can go to www.investinpatientcare.com to sign UNAC/UHCP’s petition calling for Kaiser Permanente to invest in patient care and the people who provide the care.
This Extreme Position is a Threat Now—and in the Future
Because of chronic understaffing that Kaiser Permanente refused to fix before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, patient care is at risk. Other health care systems are offering healthy bonuses, incentives, and pay increases; Kaiser Permanente will be unable to recruit and retain health care workers in the middle of a national nursing health care worker shortage.
Kaiser Permanente’s insistence on eroding standards of care and working conditions will certainly block efforts to innovate and advance health care and access. The pandemic left millions of families with one certainty: Good patient care and service come from people, not balance sheets.
United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents more than 32,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals in California and Hawaii, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.