Collective bargaining talks have broken down between Kaiser Permanente and its staff union amid the largest health-care strike in US history, a top union official said.
(Bloomberg) — Collective bargaining talks have broken down between Kaiser Permanente and its staff union amid the largest health-care strike in US history, a top union official said.
Bargaining is “not happening today, and we’ll see if tomorrow the employer returns to the table and is able to settle this dispute,” Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union, told Bloomberg TV in an interview Thursday.
Talks stalled Wednesday night over wages, outsourcing protections for current workers, and safe staffing levels at medical facilities, according to the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.
More than 75,000 workers from California to Virginia have been carrying out the largest health-care strike in history, walking off the job Wednesday for three days to protest staff shortages, stagnant pay, and other conditions they say have made it difficult to care for patients. The stoppage interrupted routine medical services for nearly 13 million people, including pharmacy orders, radiology services, and optometry. Emergency services remained open.
It’s the latest in a series of US labor disputes that have included Hollywood actors and writers, auto workers, United Parcel Service Inc. drivers, West Coast port workers, and Las Vegas hospitality workers.
Kaiser’s latest proposal calls for a minimum wage increase of $25 for California workers by 2026, and $23 for workers in other areas. The company says it also compromised on the union’s outsourcing concerns, and redesigned bonus plan with a maximum payment of $3,750.
“If it doesn’t get settled, the workers will vote again to authorize their bargaining committee to call additional strikes,” Henry said.
–With assistance from Matthew Miller and Jon Erlichman.
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