Healthcare Temperatures (And Wages) Rising

by | Sep 22, 2022 | Healthcare, SEIU, Strikes

This industry still can’t catch a break with workers heading to the picket lines for record-breaking strikes, both in terms of participating union members and duration. California happens to be ground central for a few key union-related developments:

  • As with the state’s fast food workers, a major minimum wage hike (pushed by the SEIU) is on the table, and it looks like voters will make the call on the issue of healthcare workers’ pay. This development arrives after the Los Angeles city council voted to boost the lowest paid workers (at privately-owned facilities) up to $25 per hour. Hospitals oppose this increase, citing financial strain.
  • Kaiser Permanente had 2000+ mental health workers pass the one-month mark for their ongoing strike over staffing shortages. The National Union of Healthcare Workers and Kaiser agreed to get back to bargaining, even as talks repeatedly break down between the two sides. Thus far, Kaiser has offered substantial raises (and a $6,300 retroactive payment for each worker) and to lessen workloads. Meanwhile, Kaiser therapists and nurses asked the state to intervene with facilities’ intent to hire temporary workers to fill the strike gap. In an interesting twist, the union reportedly asked nurses to cross the picket line while also failing to provide strike benefits and asking for donations to support workers.

Elsewhere, the healthcare-strike developments piled onto the table:

  • Minnesota nurses ended their three-day strike involving 15,000 members of National Nurses United.
  • In Pennsylvania, the state’s longest nurse strike subsided when facilities and the SEIU forged a contract that included raises that averaged a whopping 24% and four of the state’s nursing homes also reached a deal with striking workers.
  • In Wisconsin, nurses at UW Health University Hospital called off their planned three-day strike after an agreement with the hospital. These nurses also expressed their desire to resume their former union representation.
  • In Illinois, the University of Chicago’s Medical Center nurses protested the short-staffed environment that they’ve been enduring during the pandemic.

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