Thousands of Healthcare Workers Go on Strike

Thousands of Healthcare Workers Go on Strike

( – The healthcare system employs millions of doctors, nurses, technicians, and support staff around the country. However, the demanding environment can often lead to burnout, which, in turn, leads to high turnover rates due to insufficient wages. Another serious problem that hospitals and clinics face is staff shortages, which only contributes to burnout. It’s a vicious cycle, and one union has been trying to secure better working conditions for its members by sending them on strike.

After negotiations failed, Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers went on strike on Wednesday, October 4. More than 75,000 support staff, X-ray technicians, pharmacy workers, and medical assistants began a three-day picket line in several states, including California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions’ approval. In Virginia and Washington, DC, the strikes were approved for a single day.

Negotiations centered on pay and better working conditions. For example, the unions are asking for a minimum wage no lower than $25 per hour, with increases at 7% in 2024 and 2025 and then 6.25% for each of the two following years. Kaiser counter-offered with a minimum wage between $21 and $23, depending on the worker’s location.

The counteroffer isn’t sitting well with workers who say that Kaiser is profiting off of understaffing, a move that is hurting patients but padding the organization’s bottom line. In the second quarter of 2023, it posted $2.1 billion in profits.

According to Jacquelyn Duley, a radiologic technologist who spoke with The Associated Press, the company “has not been bargaining with [workers] in good faith,” so they decided to strike.

The strike wasn’t causing any significant healthcare disruptions, but those who had non-urgent issues or elective procedures were anticipated to see their appointments postponed until the end of the strike. It was reported that Kaiser was working to fill the positions with thousands of temporary workers in hopes of filling the gaps left by those joining the picket line.

Copyright 2023,