Thirty-five thousand members of the Alliance of Health Care Unions, a coalition of 21 local unions representing over 52,000 workers at the healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente in states around the country, have set a strike date. Unless the company addresses the serious issues that workers have raised at the bargaining table, Kaiser workers will walk off the job on Nov. 15, and thousands more may join in what could become one of the largest strikes ever in the healthcare sector. The core issues that led to the potential strike not only involve adequate compensation for union workers, but also the dire concerns about healthcare workers being grossly overworked and under-resourced, as well as two-tier employment and the struggle to draw in and retain trained staff. On top of the essential concerns that directly impact the jobs and livelihoods of healthcare workers, the outcome of this high-stakes labor struggle will have huge implications for the future of healthcare in the United States as we know it.
In this special edition of Working People, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez speaks with two Kaiser workers, Hannah Winchester, DPT, and Nicholas Eng, RNFA, about the work that they do, the changes they’ve experienced in the healthcare system, and the dire conditions that have led to a potential strike. Hannah Winchester is a home health physical therapist by trade; she is also her department’s Labor Partner, a shop steward, and a member of the bargaining team for the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP) Professional Bargaining Unit. Nicholas Eng has been a nurse for nearly 10 years; he is also an OFNHP shop steward and is currently on release for OFNHP to be present for contract bargaining and to help with organizing union members and actions, including strike planning.
Additional links/info below…
- The Alliance of Health Care Unions website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals website, Facebook page, Twitter page, and Instagram
- OFNHP Cares – Member Hardship Relief Fund
- Noah Lanard, Mother Jones, ““You Are Worth More”: Kaiser Permanente Workers Are on the Verge of a Historic Strike”
- Dave Muoio, Fierce Healthcare, “Nearly 32,000 Kaiser Permanente Workers Set to Strike Nov. 15. Tens of Thousands More Mulling Their Own Demonstrations”
Working People, The Real News Network, “A Small-Town Hospital Goes After Its Union Nurses”
Permanent links below…
- Working People Patreon page
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- Labor Radio / Podcast Network website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- In These Times website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- The Real News Network website, YouTube channel, podcast feeds, Facebook page, and Twitter page
Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive: freemusicarchive.org)
- Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”
Post-Production: Adam Coley
Maximillian Alvarez is editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at InTheseTimes.com. He is also the author of The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.