Historic Kaiser healthcare worker strike continues into third day

Healthcare workers participate in the strike at Kaiser Permanente’s Antioch Medical Center on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Photos by Allen D. Payton

Largest healthcare worker strike in U.S. history spans hundreds of hospitals and facilities across the nation including Antioch

Outsourcing and under-staffing emerge as key sticking points

Bargaining scheduled to continue Oct. 12

On Friday morning, October, 6, 2023, SEIU-United Health Workers union issued the following announcement:

More than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers in multiple states are continuing their historic three-day strike to protest unfair labor practices and Kaiser executives’ failure to bargain in good faith over unsafe staffing levels and outsourcing protections at hundreds of Kaiser hospitals and facilities across the United States. 

In Contra Costa County, the strike includes workers at Kaiser facilities in Antioch, Richmond and Walnut Creek. During the strike at Antioch Kaiser, today – part of a nationwide action – Antioch resident Angela Glasper, who has been a Kaiser employee for 35 years working as an optical services clerk, said, “We’re not backing down.”

The strike at Kaiser facilities expanded from coast to coast this week, following months of bad faith bargaining activity by Kaiser executives and repeated appeals by frontline workers for Kaiser executives to make the kinds of investments in staffing that could help stem employee turnover and reduce growing patient wait times. 

The strike began in DC and VA at 6AM ET on Wednesday morning at 6AM EST, expanded to CO at 6AM MT, then culminated with tens of thousands of workers striking in CA, OR, and WA at 6AM PT. It is already the largest healthcare worker strike in U.S. history. The current strike is expected to conclude on Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 6:00 A.M. It is possible that the coalition will issue a 10-day strike notice after Saturday, which could lead to further striking by Kaiser employees after those ten days if Kaiser executives continue to commit unfair labor practices and bargain in bad faith. 

Additional bargaining sessions were scheduled by the parties this morning for the dates of Thursday, October 12 and Friday, October 13, 2023.

Kaiser Permanente confirmed that in the following statement issued Friday morning, Oct. 6: “The next bargaining session has been scheduled to begin on October 12. We look forward to reaching a new agreement that continues to provide our employees with market-leading wages and benefits, and ensures our high-quality care is affordable and available to meet our members’ needs.”

Outsourcing of critical healthcare duties has become a key sticking point in negotiations in recent days, as Kaiser executives have refused to put limitations on subcontracting and outsourcing, which keep experienced healthcare workers in jobs and provide strong continuity of care for patients.

“Now more than ever Kaiser Permanente needs to retain and attract qualified healthcare professionals. Outsourcing and subcontracting would have the opposite effect,” said Kathleen Coleman, Medical Assistant Message Management, Arapahoe Primary Care in Colorado.

“Frontline healthcare workers continue to await meaningful action by Kaiser executives to address our key priorities, including safe staffing, outsourcing protections for incumbent healthcare workers, and fair wages to reduce turnover,” said Gwendolyn Holloway, a Contact Lens Technician at Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center.

Workers on strike include those employed as licensed vocational nurses, emergency department technicians, radiology technicians, ultrasound sonographers, teleservice representatives, respiratory therapists, x-ray technicians, optometrists, certified nursing assistants, dietary services, behavioral health workers, surgical technicians, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, transporters, home health aides, phlebotomists, medical assistants, dental assistants, call center representatives, and housekeepers, among hundreds of other positions.

WHAT: 75,000 healthcare workers are on strike at Kaiser Permanente hospitals across the U.S. 

WHEN: Today, Friday, October 6th, 2023 @ 6AM – Afternoon times TBD  

WHERE: Hundreds of Kaiser Permanente hospitals and facilities in California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon


ANTIOCH: Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center, 4501 Sand Creek Road, Antioch

RICHMOND: Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center, 901 Nevin Avenue, Richmond

WALNUT CREEK: Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center, 1425 S Main Street, Walnut Creek


The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions represents 85,000 Kaiser healthcare workers in seven states and the District of Columbia. In April, the Coalition began its national bargaining process ahead of the September 30th contract expiration. On Sept. 22, Coalition unions representing 75,000 Kaiser healthcare workers gave Kaiser executives 10-day notices for an unfair labor practice strike beginning Oct. 4. The Coalition and Kaiser Permanente last negotiated a contract in 2019, before healthcare workers found themselves on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic that has worsened working conditions and exacerbated a healthcare staffing crisis.

At issue, healthcare workers say, are a series of unfair labor practices related to bargaining in bad faith, along with simmering staff concerns related to unsafe staffing levels that can lead to dangerously long wait times, mistaken diagnosis, and neglect. After years of the COVID pandemic and chronic understaffing, Kaiser healthcare workers are calling on management to provide safe staffing levels.

Workers say that Kaiser is committing unfair labor practices and also that understaffing is boosting Kaiser’s profits but hurting patients. In a recent survey of 33,000 employees, 2/3 of workers said they’d seen care delayed or denied due to short staffing. After three years of the COVID pandemic and chronic understaffing, healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente are calling on management to provide safe staffing levels.

Kaiser has reported ​​$3 billion in profits in just the first six months of this year. Despite being a non-profit organization – which means it pays no income taxes on its earnings and extremely limited property taxes – Kaiser has reported more than $24 billion in profit over the last five years. Kaiser’s CEO was compensated more than $16 million in 2021, and forty-nine executives at Kaiser are compensated more than $1 million annually. Kaiser Permanente has investments of $113 billion in the US and abroad, including in fossil fuels, casinos, for-profit prisons, alcohol companies, military weapons and more.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions unites more than 85,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in California, Colorado, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

the attachments to this post:

Kaiser Antioch strike signs 10-3-23

Kaiser Antioch striking workers 10-3-23

Kaiser Antioch strike 10-3-23 ADP

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