More than 75 thousand workers from the North American medical services consortium Kaiser Permanente, considered one of the largest non-profit organizations in the country in the health sector, began a national strike this Wednesday (04/10) to demand better working conditions .
The strike began this Wednesday morning in different regions of the country, such as California, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia, the District of Columbia and the capital Washington. The shutdown is expected to last about three days in different services, including hospitals and medical offices affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Even with the mobilization of workers, the company announced the implementation of a contingency plan so that patients continue to receive care during the planned strike days.
What could be the biggest strike in the sector in history began after healthcare professionals in the United States, affiliated with Kaiser Permanente, demanded from management an increase in investments to solve the shortage of employees, in addition to better salaries and other benefits.
The executive director of the International Union of Health Services Employees (SEIU-UHW), one of those responsible for the strike, Caroline Lucas, denounced that the shortage of employees caused unsafe working conditions and deteriorated the quality of patient care. She assesses that, due to the demands, many workers were exhausted and had to leave their jobs.
“We have people who get hurt at work because they try to do too much, serve too many people and work too quickly. It is not a sustainable situation”, said Lucas on the social network X (formerly Twitter).
— SEIU-UHW #United4All (@seiu_uhw) October 4, 2023
The union’s comments were confirmed in a statement released by Kaiser Permanente, recognizing that many workers face stressful situations during work. The document further added that more than five million people have left their jobs in the healthcare sector and burnout has reached a record level in the United States.
But despite the recognitions, the union accused Kaiser Permanente of not having adequately addressed the needs of professionals. Therefore, negotiations are ongoing between the parties, but so far no solution has been reached.
Kaiser Permanente operates 39 hospitals and a network of more than 600 physician practices in eight states and the District of Columbia. In total, it serves almost 13 million patients.
Sequence of strikes in the USA
The United States has experienced a series of strikes in various sectors, the most recent being that of workers in the automobile sector, represented by the United States Automotive Workers Union (UAW).
On strike since mid-September, the entity declared its support for the strike by health workers, affirming its solidarity with the more than 75 thousand professionals.
“Whether you work in a hospital, behind a desk or on an assembly line, your fight is our fight. We all deserve dignity inside and outside of work. We all deserve a future for our families and our communities. We all deserve our fair share of the economy that we, as workers, create and manage,” said UAW President Shawn Fain.
The Hollywood Screenwriters Union (WGA) announced the end of its strike, after five months, on September 24th when an agreement that they considered “exceptional” and with “protection for screenwriters in all sectors of activity” was reached. .
Since May, Hollywood screenwriters had paused their activities, demanding salary increases and against the introduction of Artificial Intelligence in the creation of works.
Starting in July, the WGA strike was supported by the actors’ union, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which represents 160,000 US actors. However, this strike has not yet been finalized, with the support of great personalities such as Tom Cruise and Margot Robbie, the film’s protagonist. Barbie.