More than 24,000 nurses and healthcare workers in Caesar Permanente in California and Oregon have called for a general strike, threatening to cut pay and work conditions.
Qaiser, one of the country’s largest healthcare providers, has proposed a two-tier wage and benefits system that would provide new employees with lower pay and lower health protection. The unions want Caesar to abandon the plan. They also want a 4% increase over the next three years and the hiring of more nurses to address staff shortages. Caesar has offered an additional 1% per annum, and has said it will have to cut labor costs to stay competitive.
The regional strike vote came during negotiations for a national agreement between Caesar and the Alliance of Healthcare Unions, which represents more than 20 unions covering more than 50,000 Caesar workers across the country. The unions said more strikes could be allowed in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Washington State and the District of Columbia.
Votes this weekend do not automatically trigger a halt. The union must give Caesar a permanent 10-day notice before the workers leave work, and both parties must continue bargaining after their final agreement expires on September 30.
The strike represents nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physical therapists and others represented by the United Nurses Association of California / Union of Healthcare Professionals. About 7,000 members of the United Steel Workers’ Union, including housekeeping attendants, customer service representatives and pharmacy technicians, also voted in favor of the strike.
“We ask that our employees reject the call to move away from the patients they need. Our priority is to continue to provide our members with high quality, safe care. Stop any kind of work. In that case, our facilities will be accompanied by our physicians as well as trained and experienced managers and emergency staff, “replied Caesar Permanente.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the turnout among workers was 86 percent, with 96 percent approving the strike.
“It shows they don’t take it lightly,” said Dennis Duncan, president of UNAC / UHCP, a registered nurse. “They want to see change.”
Arlene Pesnal, senior vice president for human resources, said Caesar was committed to working quickly to reach a new agreement.
“We urge our employees to reject the call to stay away from the patients they need,” the personal statement said. “In the event of any work stoppage, our facilities will be with our physicians, trained and experienced managers and emergency staff.”
The Times reports that Caesar’s proposal would reduce the wage scale for each job rating from 26% to 39%, representing a union of unions for new jobs starting in January 2023. ۔ Research, regulatory affairs and public policy Carter said that if implemented, this “two-tier” system could provoke resentment among workers who are paid at different rates for the same work, leading to more business. And can undermine efforts to attract and retain skilled workers.
“He did not elaborate on his reasoning for the drone cuts he is proposing while they are very profitable,” Carter said.
The union said Caesar Permanent has 44 billion in cash reserves and a healthier approach than most healthcare systems.
Caesar Permanent spokesman Terry Kanakri said an independent analysis by the company found that the salaries of union representative employees were at least 26% in almost all markets where the company operates.
“Millions of Americans are struggling with health care costs. Looking ahead, we need to cut costs to stay competitive long-term, and our wages and benefits represent more than 50 percent of our total cost structure. Let’s do it, “Kanakri said in an email. “We are not proposing any reduction in wages or benefits for our 48,000 existing Alliance employees.”