A three-day strike commenced at Kaiser Permanente facilities in San Diego as picketers gathered at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. This strike, part of the largest healthcare strike in U.S. history, was triggered by the employees’ dissatisfaction with the perceived inadequacy of their employer’s contract offers. Demonstrations took place at Kaiser Permanente Zion Medical Center in Grantville and other locations, with hundreds of workers expressing concerns about poor working conditions affecting patient care.
Reginald Villanueva, an employee involved in inpatient medical transport, highlighted the crisis in patient care due to overwhelming workloads and poor working conditions. He mentioned safety negligence and delayed repairs, impacting patient care flow and the hospital’s financial performance. Villanueva emphasized the disappointment in failing to reach an agreement with the hospital system during pre-strike negotiations.
Shiree Allen, a receptionist at San Diego Medical Center, voiced concerns about understaffing and overworking front-line workers, with inadequate hiring of replacements for those who left during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Allen, promises of future hires have not translated into visible improvements, and the staff is not feeling the promised difference.
A licensed vocational nurse in Kearny Mesa, identified as “Zharmaine N.,” highlighted the insufficient pay increases offered by Kaiser, stating they are not keeping up with inflation. She emphasized the importance of addressing staffing issues in addition to fair pay.
Kaiser, in response, asserted that it already pays industry-leading wages and has hired thousands of additional service workers in the current year. The strike is not expected to close Kaiser hospitals, urgent care centers, and pharmacies, with the facilities remaining open during the three-day period. Patients can check the status of outpatient facilities on Kaiser’s website, KP.org.