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A 10-day notice was formally given to Kaiser Permanente as more than 32,000 nurses and workers prepare for a strike.

The United Nurses Associations of California and Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) said on Nov. 15, its 21,000 southern California nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physical and occupational therapists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants would go on strike.

Additionally, 7,400 members of United Steelworkers and 3,400 members of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals (OFNHP) would also strike against Kaiser Permanente.

“The lives of our patients and the health of our communities are dependent on the outcome of these negotiations,” UNAC/UHCP President Denise Duncan said. “For weeks, we’ve been beating back a two-tier wage package which would impact our ability to hire, recruit and retain during a severe shortage of nurses, health care workers and professionals—wage proposals that resemble those of a slash-and-burn corporation, not the leading health care provider that our members helped build. For health care providers, a strike is always a last resort, but it’s clear from the employer’s latest proposals that this is the path they’ve chosen.”

Kaiser Permanente nurses have been working without a contract since Oct. 1 and have asked for an annual 4% wage increase for its members through 2023. The unions are also asking for Kaiser to not  reduce wages of new hires.

Kaiser Permanente countered with a 1% annual wage increase and a 1% bonus, and have asked workers not to walk out.

“We ask that our employees reject a call to walk away from the patients who need them,” A Kaiser representative said in a written statement. “Our priority is to continue to provide our members with high-quality, safe care. In the event of any kind of work stoppage, our facilities will be staffed by our physicians along with trained and experienced managers and contingency staff.”

LA Weekly