Oct 4, 2023 - News

Thousands of Kaiser health care workers strike in Bay Area

The Kaiser Permanente San Francisco location in 2021. Photo: Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Thousands of Kaiser Permanente health care workers went on strike in the Bay Area on Wednesday morning.

What's happening: Kaiser and a coalition of unions representing its workers have failed to reach a deal to renew a contract that expired Sept. 30.

Why it matters: The three-day protest of roughly 75,000 workers across hundreds of Kaiser medical facilities is the largest health care strike in U.S. history, according to the unions.

Zoom in: In the Bay Area, the workers' strike started at 6am at Kaiser medical centers in San Francisco, South San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Antioch, Fremont, Redwood City, Richmond, Manteca, San Leandro, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Vallejo and Walnut Creek.

Zoom out: Strike lines are set up at Kaiser medical facilities across California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The big picture: Since the pandemic, the health care industry has struggled with labor shortages and worker burnout — and unrest has grown.

  • Last year, about 15,000 nurses went on strike for three days in Minnesota in what was believed to be the largest nursing strike in U.S. history.

State of play: The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions has criticized the health care giant for chronic understaffing that's led to long waits for appointments and delays in patient care services.

Of note: Kaiser notified its members of the potential strike, and patients will be contacted by Kaiser directly if they need to do virtual or reschedule non-urgent appointments and procedures.

What to watch: The strike is expected to last for three days, and contract negotiations are ongoing.

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