East Bay Kaiser Permanente employees set a strike date

Kaiser Permanente workers, including 4,900 in Alameda County, haveset a strike date: Oct. 14.

The group of unions representing optometrists, laboratory scientists, x-ray technicians, licensed vocational nurses, and housekeepers, among a number of other types of workers, are billing the strike as the largest in the U.S. since 185,000 Teamsters walked the picket line for 16 days against United Parcel Service in 1997.

In the East Bay, the bulk of union members working at Kaiser Permanente hospitals are located in Oakland and San Leandro, the union said.

Seventeen hundred union workers are employed at Kaiser Oakland; 1,500 in San Leandro, in addition; to 650 in Fremont; 420 in Berkeley; 325 in Pleasanton; and 230 in Livermore.

Seven days of demonstrations are scheduled for the week of Oct. 14 , according to the unions. In addition, to California, the strike includes Kaiser Permanente union members in five other states, totaling about 80,000 health care workers.

Kaiser union members have been without a contract since Sept. 30, 2018.

Despite the strike date set by the unions, both sides continue to talk in hopes of reaching a deal within the next month. Kaiser’s recent offer gives employee a 3 percent wage increase through 2022.

But talks have been contentious over the past year with the unions alleging Kaiser has committed unfair labor practices. It is unclear what the unions counteroffer is currently.

But for months, they have painted Kaiser Permanente as awash in profits after earning $11 billion over the past two years. The hospital giant’s financial reserves are believe to be roughly $38 billion. Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, reportedly earns an annual salary of $16 million, according to the unions.