When you effectively shut out a 75k+ workforce of medical professionals, you have crossed the line. Yet that’s what Kaiser Permanente did as their workers went on strike in 39 hospitals and 600 medical offices. The strike spread out across five of their eight states, and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions was unable to reach an agreement with the healthcare company regarding their massive staffing shortage.
Their demands are relatively simple. They want an end to their staffing shortage along with a 6.5% increase in salary. Additionally, they want to be protected from having their positions outsourced or subcontracted, and finally to have retirees taken care of with a medical plan. All in all, these are simple demands and ones that any skilled professional would want. Especially with a union job like this.
With locations in California, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C. striking through October 8th, some of the most crucial positions hit the picket lines. According to CNBC, “The striking workers include vocational nurses, emergency department technicians, radiology technicians, X-ray technicians, respiratory therapists, medical assistants, pharmacists and hundreds of other positions.”
According to the company, they made contingency plans for such a strike, and patient care will not be impacted.
Strikes like these underscore the core problem; companies being unwilling to meet the demands of their consumers. Look at any college with a nursing program. They are full, and many have waiting lists. Even many community college RN programs still require a 3.75 GPA or better on your AA to even apply for the program, simply because they have too many people trying to get in as it is.
Hospitals, doctor’s offices, and even nursing homes have problems keeping people who are low-paid and often make up the bulk of their workforce. As newly graduated professionals exit their residency and into the full deal, they take what they can get for a year or two. Then they start applying to get their worth. This is the way healthcare works in America. Given the over-inflated rates the suits charge for medications, you can’t blame the professionals for wanting their due.