OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Workers in the Kaiser Permanente begin Monday to vote on whether to authorize a massive strike that will affect the Kaiser facilities nationwide, according to the Service Employees International Union, one of the Kaiser workers' unions.
Workers at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland will vote on Monday. The poll will last for more than a month while Kaiser workers in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Virginia and Washington, D.C. If it was approved, the union said it would be the biggest strike in 20 years.
According to the union, Kaiser workers have been without contract since September 30 and the talks were stopped on July 1
The trade union accuses Kaiser of unfair work practices, saying that health care pays its leaders exorbitant wages without providing adequate resources to workers and patients.
A spokesman for Kaiser did not immediately return a request for comment.
Many Kaiser workers have been outspoken about their problems with the company in recent months. Earlier this month, Kaiser staged San Francisco mental health workers a day's strike, saying that the reduction of staffing has led to severe cuts and long delays in the service of severe mental health.
At a recent meeting in Oakland City Council, many Kaiser workers spoke in contrast to the fact that the Council sold a city-owned package to a massive project on Telegraph Avenue that would eventually act as Kaiser's new headquarters.
While council members urged Kaiser to come to a decision with his workers, the council approved the land sale.
Sonia Allen Smith, radiologist at Kaiser's medical center Oakland, said in a statement that Kaiser "has abandoned his mission to serve communities in favor of earning massive profits and enriching top executives."  Kaiser's leaders "thrive when Kaiser raises prices for patients, undermines health care quality, refuses to negotiate in good faith, and attacks the front line health professionals who have made it successful, "Smith said.
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