Some 23,000 Kaiser Permanente health care workers struck in mid-September in California in a state-wide protest against the multi-national private healthcare company. 2,000 engineers of the International Union of Operating Engineers and Stationary Engineers joined 17,000 registered nurses of the California Nurses Association in sympathy strike action with 4,000 National Union of Healthcare Workers members.
NUHW members are fighting Kaiser Permanente’s refusal to address short staffing and patient care issues. At the same time the company is attempting to eliminate workers’ defined benefit pension schemes and health benefits.
Kaiser Permanente has made over $5.7 billion in profits during the past 30 months and yet still penalises and exploits some of its lowest-paid workers providing health care. The company is currently in talks with the Department of Health about expansion into Britain. ■