Tens of 1000’s of Kaiser Permanente staff have voted to authorize a strike if no settlement is reached with their unions by the top of September, union officers introduced Thursday.

SEIU United Healthcare Staff West stated practically 60,000 staff in California had accepted a doable strike, teeing up what could possibly be the most important strike by healthcare staff in U.S. historical past. Its members embody nursing assistants, housekeepers, phlebotomists and medical assistants.

Unions representing extra Kaiser staff in Colorado, Oregon and Washington have additionally introduced the identical determination, with some unionized staff at Kaiser services nonetheless voting by way of subsequent Wednesday.

No strike would happen earlier than October, after the contract expires for greater than 85,000 Kaiser Permanente staff whose unions have fashioned a coalition. Their absence could be important: The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions stated it represents roughly 40% of the general Kaiser Permanente workforce.

Union leaders have complained about understaffing, saying that it may possibly result in alarmingly lengthy wait occasions for sufferers, stated administration proposals on wages and workforce growth would solely worsen the staffing disaster, and argued that the well being system had not bargained with them in good religion.

SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan stated that staff “have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike as a result of we is not going to merely stand by as Kaiser violates the legislation and places sufferers in danger.”

Kaiser Permanente stated in a press release Thursday that it was assured that it could quickly attain an settlement “that strengthens our place as a greatest place to work and ensures that the high-quality care our members anticipate from us stays inexpensive and simple to entry.”

It referred to as the vote to authorize a strike “a disappointing motion contemplating our progress on the bargaining desk” and disputed union claims about its proposals, saying that it was providing wage will increase and has been aggressively recruiting to fill positions.

Extra bargaining classes are scheduled for subsequent week.

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