PORTLAND, Ore. — Thousands of staff at Kaiser Permanente could be walking off the job in the coming weeks. Workers represented by the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals are joining more than a dozen unions across the country in voting to authorize a strike.
The current contract for 3,400 health professionals in the state expires on September 30th. Negotiations at both the local and national level have started to break down at a time when Kaiser and other healthcare providers are critically understaffed.
Surveys among members over the past few weeks found that 42% of registered nurses at Kaiser represented by OFNHP say they’re considering leaving the field entirely because of how they’ve been treated at Kaiser with over 60% considering leaving the company and nearly 60% considering leaving their department. The same workers were asked if they would be willing to strike and 93% said they would vote to do so.
“Striking is always our last resort, but Kaiser seems determined to push forward proposals that would hurt staff, patients, and our entire public health system,” says Jodi Barschow, a Kaiser RN and President of OFNHP. “Kaiser needs to do the right thing and put our patients before profits.”
OFNHP are calling for Kaiser to settle a fair contract and fix the staffing crisis.