Kaiser Permanente workers about to strike | ET REALITY


High levels of burnout have exacerbated staffing shortages, said Ethan Ruskin, a health educator at Kaiser Permanente in San Jose, California. Patients are having to wait longer than usual for appointments, he said, only to face more delays in waiting rooms.

“If they see something on your mammogram and send you for an ultrasound, you’ll have to wait weeks to get a scan,” Ruskin said. “Meanwhile, our sonographers have huge rates of injuries, such as stress fractures, because they are expected to see twice as many patients as they should.”

Ruskin, who works alongside doctors to educate patients about various diagnoses, including diabetes, said San Jose employees had been frustrated by their working conditions for more than three years. “Frankly, the executives could stop the strike today,” Ruskin said. “To be clear, no one wants to strike. But we are prepared to do it. We entered this field because we want to help people. “We’re not sure what else to do at this point.”

Emperor released a video and other resources in recent weeks to urge workers to reject union calls for a strike. They argue that unlike other high-profile labor negotiations, such as those between auto workers and Hollywood actors, the effects of a health care worker strike on the public would be immediate and life-threatening. Unions, however, have said a strike is necessary to protect patient safety.

While talks continue, the parties have yet to reach an agreement on a minimum hourly wage for workers and the rate of annual increases over the life of the four-year contract. The union wants a minimum wage of $25 an hour and raises of 7 percent in the first two years and 6.25 percent in the next two years, according to its latest public report. proposal.

Kaiser has countered with minimum hourly wages of between $21 and $23 next year, increasing by one dollar a year. Raises would vary by location, with workers in some places, such as Northern California, receiving 4 percent annual raises for four years, while others would receive a 3.5 percent raise the first year, followed by increases 3 percent annually.

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