The largest health care strike in United States history is set to officially come to a close early Saturday morning, but there's still no labor agreement in sight.
More than 75,000 union members walked off the job Wednesday at Kaiser Permanente facilities in five states and Washington, D.C., that serve some 13 million Americans. Union officials said the three-day strike was a last resort in response to Kaiser executives failing to address the staffing crisis.
The Service Employees International Union also said the company has not negotiated in good faith and failed to provide adequate living wages and benefits to workers.
"Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s largest hospital companies that made $3 billion in profits between January and June alone," said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. "Workers across race and background are taking on Kaiser, saying it’s time to bargain in good faith and respect us, protect us and pay us the living wages we need to thrive. They’re demanding what’s necessary for patients to get the quality care they need and deserve."
A spokesperson with Kaiser Permanente says negotiations have ended without a settlement, but the two sides have made significant progress on some key issues. Talks are expected to continue, but the labor union has threatened a longer strike in November if a new employment contract is not agreed upon in the coming weeks.
Union negotiators said Kaiser workers are demanding a minimum of $25 per hour, with 7% increases in the first two years of the contract and a 6.25% increase in the final two years.
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