Over 75,000 US Healthcare Workers Go On Strike Over Wages, Staff Shortages

by Aditya Kumar

Over 75,000 US healthcare workers have gone on strike in a bid to address issues surrounding wages and staff shortages. The strike at Kaiser Permanente, America’s largest non-profit healthcare organization, is one of the biggest healthcare worker strikes in recent US history.

The strike began in Virginia and Washington, with plans to spread to the West Coast later in the day, where the majority of the company’s workforce is based. Kaiser Permanente has implemented contingency plans to minimize disruption, but customers have been advised to expect longer wait times.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, an umbrella group representing local unions, has stated that this three-day walkout will be the largest healthcare worker strike in US history. The union is advocating for across-the-board pay increases and protections against subcontracting and outsourcing of labor.

Kaiser Permanente expressed disappointment over the strike and assured that its medical centers would remain open during the walkout, staffed by physicians, experienced managers, and trained staff. However, the union has threatened further strike action in November if unfair labor practices persist.

This strike reflects a broader trend of increased industrial action in the US amid rising inflation. Higher prices have eroded the purchasing power of workers nationwide, while concerns about the automation of jobs have arisen due to the advancement of generative artificial intelligence (AI).

In addition to the healthcare worker strike, there are ongoing strikes in Detroit, where the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is engaged in joint action against major automakers for higher pay and improved working conditions. Hollywood has also witnessed a months-long joint strike by writers and actors, disrupting major film and TV productions.

While writers have reached an agreement to return to work, actors represented by the SAF-AFTRA union continue to strike until final details of their deal with major studios are resolved.

The current wave of strikes highlights the growing dissatisfaction among workers across various industries in the US. As inflation rises and concerns about job automation persist, employees are taking to the picket lines to fight for better pay, working conditions, and job security.

It remains to be seen how these strikes will shape the future of labor relations in the US. However, one thing is clear—the demands for economic equity and fair treatment are becoming increasingly dominant in the national conversation.

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