Podcast: How Kaiser Healthcare Workers Won

Headshot of Maximillian Alvarez.
Maximillian Alvarez

From October 4-6 of 2023, the US experienced the largest healthcare worker strike in our history, when over 75,000 workers with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions went on a three-day strike against the healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente.

Then, on October 13, after warning that more strikes could be coming if a deal wasn’t reached at the bargaining table, healthcare workers scored a major victory and reached a tentative agreement with Kaiser, which the union membership, accounting for over 85,000 Kaiser Permanente workers across the country, voted to ratify in early November.

As the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions stated in a press release upon the contract ratification, ​“In a historic victory for frontline healthcare workers, more than 85,000 Kaiser Permanente workers have overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new contract that will bolster patient safety, make critical investments in the healthcare workforce, and set a higher standard for the healthcare industry nationwide.

Approved by a margin of 98.5%, the four-year contract is in effect from October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2027, at hundreds of Kaiser facilities across California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.”

In this mini-cast, we speak with Meg Niemi, President of SEIU Local 49, and Audrey Cardenas, a benefits support specialist at a Kaiser dental office in Oregon, about how Kaiser healthcare workers took on the bosses and won this new contract, and what that is going to mean for workers and patients alike moving forward.

This is a description from a podcast recording that originally appeared at In These Times on Feb. 28, 2024.

About the Author: Maximillian Alvarez is editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at In The​se ​Times​. He is also the author of The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.