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Three-Day Kaiser Permanente Strike Ends

The largest healthcare strike in U.S. history lasted three days in early October. More than 75,000 healthcare workers from Kaiser Permanente spanning four states stopped working because they want higher wages and solutions to the short-staffing issues. Kaiser is one of the largest nonprofit health plans in the country.

The pandemic exhausted healthcare workers, increasing the burden on this overworked group. Two hundred workers from Virginia and Washington D.C. joined Kaiser employees from California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state on one of the days. These healthcare workers included nursing staff, lab technicians, receptionists, and other medical staff.

While the striking workers have scheduled bargaining sessions with Kaiser, they are prepared for further walkouts if the organization does not meet their demands. They will issue a 10-day warning to kick off another round of strikes if Kaiser continues to "commit unfair labor practices and bargain in bad faith." Kaiser told CNN that it has agreed to do "aggressive work" to hire more staff members and has hired 10,086 people this year. The union considers current working conditions unsafe and believes some of Kaiser's hiring numbers reflect current employees shifting into different roles. The workers hope raising wages will attract more staff to these positions. Kaiser offered a 5% wage increase in the first three years of a new contract and a 4% raise to all unionized employees in the final year. The striking unions want a 6.5% increase in the first two years and a 5.75% in the last two years. The workers also want to raise the minimum pay per hour.