USW Local 7600 intends to strike Kaiser over unfair labor practices

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 10:32 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 4, 2021 at 1:39 PM HST

FONTANA, Calif., Nov. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7600 today said that the union has given Kaiser Permanente management a 10-day notice of its intent to strike over unfair labor practices beginning on Fri., Nov. 15, 2021.

United Steelworkers. (PRNewsFoto/United Steelworkers)
United Steelworkers. (PRNewsFoto/United Steelworkers)

The USW and Kaiser management, along with 20 other local unions who belong to the Alliance of Health Care Unions (AHCU), have been negotiating since this past spring over a labor agreement that will cover roughly 50,000 health care workers in nearly every geographic area where Kaiser Permanente has a presence.

"We are prepared to meet with management all day, every day if that's what it will take to reach a fair agreement for these essential workers," said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer and USW Vice President of Human Affairs Fred Redmond, who leads the union's health care sector bargaining.  "Our union will continue to bargain in good faith, and we strongly urge Kaiser to begin doing the same."

The multi-billion-dollar health care giant has persistently tried to force workers to accept provisions like a two-tier wage scale that will make it harder to recruit and retain qualified staff. It also refuses to address the vast wage disparities between its Inland Empire workforce and other area workers doing the same jobs.

At the same time, Kaiser Permanente management has engaged in serious unfair labor practices and violations of workers' rights in an effort to undermine support for the union.

"Workers already gave so much of themselves, even prior to the pandemic, and Kaiser has yet to offer a proposal that reflects their hard work and sacrifice," said Local 7600 President Michael Barnett. "We plan to stand in solidarity as a union until we make that happen."

USW Local 7600 represents 7,400 workers across 72 Kaiser Permanente locations in Southern California. They work in a wide range of job classes, from respiratory care practitioners to surgical technicians, engineers to pharmacy technicians and assistants, licensed vocational nurses, dietary aides, environmental service workers, medical assistants, appointment clerks, phlebotomists, and more.

The United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) and the Oregon Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals joined the USW in filing their 10-day notices today, bringing the number of Kaiser Permanente workers signaling their intent to strike to more than 30,000.

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Contact: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, (412) 212-8173

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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

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