Why 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers are striking

More than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers have launched a strike Oct. 4 after their contract expired with no new labor agreement in place — marking the largest walkout by healthcare workers in the history of the United States.

The strike includes nurses, lab technicians and pharmacists at hospitals and medical centers across California, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia and is scheduled to last three days, according to an Oct. 4 report from CBS News.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions is asking for a $25 hourly minimum wage, in addition to increases of 7 percent annually in the first two years and 6.25 percent annually in the next two years, the report said.

Unions in the coalition first voted to authorize a strike in September. The unions' national bargaining team then submitted a 10-day notice Sept. 22 to Kaiser indicating that coalition unions were calling for their first unfair labor practice strike in the event that an agreement wasn't made.

An agreement wasn't reached, and the union workers' national contract with Kaiser expired after Sept. 30.

"There have been good discussions with Kaiser on a number of issues, and while there is no concrete agreement, we can see a path to resolution on raising shift differentials, a fair remote work agreement, and investments in training for both current employees to promote to harder to fill jobs and community members to become the healthcare workforce needed for the future," the coalition said in a statement

Meanwhile, Kaiser has said it has contingency plans in place to ensure the continuation of safe, high-quality care to its patients throughout the strike, adding that "hospitals and emergency departments will remain open."

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