Kaiser Permanente engineers’ strike in 35th day, mediation planned

“Can’t Touch This” was played on speakers outside Oakland’s Kaiser Permanente headquarters on Thursday, hospital employees were “unfair to workers,” and “their battle is ours! , “I’m on strike against Kaiser.” .. “

The strike of local 39 fixed and biomedical engineers continued until day 35, with a state-mediated meeting between the two countries scheduled for Friday.

The hospital seemed to be operating normally, with patients, nurses and doctors coming and going. But five weeks after the engineer wasn’t working, stationary engineer Mark Sutherland said, “I can’t do anything here every month or every week at the hospital.” As a stationary engineer, Sutherland’s job is to ensure that all machinery, including electricity, plumbing, refrigeration, heating, and air conditioning systems, is functioning properly.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39 went on strike when the contract ended on September 18, and there was no agreement with Kaiser. The union demanded a 5% increase in wages, and Kaiser proposed a 2% increase, but the union refused.

Kaiser Permanente strike workers and supporters (provided by Nathaniel Arnold)

A Kaiser Permanente spokesman, who was asked to comment on the strike, said the health system was preparing a statement. But it wasn’t published late Thursday night yet. In a statement released in September, Kaiser said, “We will continue to negotiate in good faith with Local 39 in the hope that we will conclude a final mutually beneficial contract as soon as possible.”

Local 39 was a picket on Thursday, supported by Service Employees International Union-United Health Workers and the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America, with a total of about 30 participants.

“I’m really proud of this event because it shows where the workforce is heading,” he said. Lala Gonzalez, SEIU Contract Specialist and Shop Steward.

Strikes occur during what many call “strike talkers” on social media, with workers such as Kellogg, Nabisco, Frito-Lay, and Johndia striking. Higher wages and better working conditions And benefits.

Last week, 24,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers in California and Oregon promised to cut off two-tiered wage and benefits plans, raise wages by 4% and hire more nurses. Approved the requested strike. In Hawaii, Unite Here! There are 2,000 Kaiser Permanente workers represented by. Local 5 approved the strike on Wednesday.

In the case of Local 39, rising wages not only stabilize the finances, but also lead to the retention of engineers.

“We are constantly losing people,” said Dale McIntyre, chief biomedical engineer. He said Kaiser pays engineers the same wages in all regions, so newly hired engineers in Auckland don’t stay long and instead often move to cheaper housing markets.

McIntyre said he is constantly retraining people and the engineering department is currently declining by seven.

Sutherland said workers in various hospital departments rely on engineers to keep their jobs running smoothly.

“If we are not working properly, it is fAll about nurses Doctors, staff, everyone can’t do their job right, “he said. “So I hope something really goes away by next week.”

Kaiser
39 local members Mark Sutherland (Laura Proctor) on strike at Kaiser Permanente

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