D.C.-area Kaiser Permanente workers set to strike over pay, staffing shortages

Kaiser Permanente’s Springfield Medical Center (via Google Maps)

More than 75,000 workers at health care giant Kaiser Permanente are set to strike on Wednesday.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions’ contract with the health system expired on Saturday night without reaching a new agreement with management. Union workers are bargaining for pay raises and increased protections against strain. Employees say they and patients are feeling the effects of short-staffing.

Kaiser Permanente has more than a dozen medical centers across the Washington, D.C., area with Fairfax County sites in Tysons, Reston, Fair Oaks, Burke and Springfield. The strike will take place over three days at hundreds of Kaiser Permanente facilities across Virginia, D.C, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, according to the unions.

“Kaiser continues to bargain in bad faith over these issues and, so far, there is no light at the end of the tunnel,” the unions said in a statement on Saturday.

Kaiser Permanente said that in Virginia and the District of Columbia, the strike covers less than 400 optometrists and pharmacists and does not include nurses or physicians. In the case of a strike, the health care provider expects facilities to remain open and operate with minimal disruption.

“We are continuing to bargain with the Coalition to reach a new agreement that protects and improves all the great advantages of working at Kaiser Permanente,” the health care provider said in a statement on Monday. “Our goal is to reach a fair and equitable agreement that strengthens our position as a best place to work and ensures that the high-quality care our members expect from us remains affordable and easy to access.”

If no contract agreement is reached by midnight, workers with union OPEIU Local 2 intend to picket Kaiser’s Springfield Medical Center at 6551 Loisdale Court tomorrow morning, DCist reported.

This article was written by FFXnow’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. It was lightly edited to focus on Fairfax County. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

Photo via Google Maps

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