Health care workers picket outside US hospitals in multiple states, kicking off 3-day strike

Kaiser Permanente workers carry a sign outside the hospital on Wednesday during a protest strike in the Panorama City section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers rally outside Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Some 75,000 Kaiser Permanente hospital employees who say understaffing is hurting patient care walked off the job Wednesday in five states and the District of Columbia, kicking off a major health care worker strike. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Editor’s note: The Kaiser Permanente strike mentioned below will not affect the state of Hawaii, although “there will be additional worker actions in solidarity with the … workers” this week, according to a spokesperson for the Kaiser union coalition

LOS ANGELES — Tens of thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers took to picket lines in multiple states on Wednesday, launching a massive strike that the company warned could cause delays at its hospitals and clinics that serve nearly 13 million Americans.


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.

Some 75,000 people were expected to participate in the pickets.

“Kaiser has not been bargaining with us in good faith and so it’s pushing us to come out here and strike,” said Jacquelyn Duley, a radiologic technologist among the hundreds of picketers at Kaiser Permanente Orange County – Irvine Medical Center. “We want to be inside just taking care of our patients.”

The Oakland, California-based nonprofit company said its 39 hospitals, including emergency rooms, will remain open. Doctors are not participating, and Kaiser said it was bringing in thousands of temporary workers to fill the gaps. Still, appointments and non-urgent procedures could be pushed back.

Early Wednesday, workers at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center cheered as the strike deadline arrived. The strikers include licensed vocational nurses, home health aides and ultrasound sonographers, as well as technicians in the radiology, X-ray, surgical, pharmacy and emergency departments.

Brittany Everidge, a ward clerk transcriber in the medical center’s maternal child health department, was among those on the picket line. She said that because of staffing shortages, pregnant people in active labor can be stuck waiting for hours to be checked in. Other times, too few transcribers can lead to delays in creating and updating charts for new babies.

“We don’t ever want to be in a situation where the nurses have to do our job,” she said.

Across Virginia and Washington, D.C., only 180 workers were eligible to strike, according to Local 2 Secretary-Treasurer Sarah Levesque. The picketers had to travel miles across the region to meet up, so rather than commuting long distances for three days, they instead chose to participate in a one-day strike and converged in Springfield, Va., on Wednesday.

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