Kaiser stymied strike vote in the East Bay after closing cafeteria meeting space

Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. PHOTO/Wikimedia

Kaiser Permanente management closed hospital cafeterias across the state Monday before a vote by some of its workers to authorize a strike this fall.

The meeting spaces were closed at Kaiser hospitals in Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, Fremont, Livermore, and Pleasanton, a representative for Service Employee Union International said. SEIU represents more than 4,800 employees at Kaiser facilities in the East Bay.

Nurses arrived at cafeterias to vote on giving the thumbs-up for a strike that would begin in October, only to find the spaces had been closed.

According to SEIU, its labor contract with Kaiser allows for the use of cafeterias as a public space for union business with its members. One SEIU member said management’s move was akin to a “corporate hissy fit.”

SEIU said nurses have been without a contract since last September.

More than 80,000 Kaiser hospital employees in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, and other parts of California are affected by the potential work stoppage.