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Kaiser Permanente workers vote to strike if an agreement on a new contract cannot be reached

Kaiser Permanente - Kihei Clinic
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii
Kaiser Permanente - Kihei Clinic

Local union workers at Kaiser Permanente have voted to authorize a strike if an agreement on a new contract cannot be reached.

UNITE HERE! Local 5 represents about 1,800 Kaiser employees in Hawaiʻi. According to the union, 93% of members who voted, chose to authorize a strike.

The employees have been without a contract since Sept. 30.

Union spokesperson Bryant De Venecia says the pandemic has increased worker dissatisfaction, but issues had been festering long before that.

"Even before Covid the workload and staffing and wages have been big issues in our health care industries. And the pandemic only exacerbated these issues," he said.

De Venecia says further negotiations will take place Thursday and Friday.

In a statement, Kaiser Human Resources Vice President Arlene Peasnall says in the event of a walkout, Kaiser facilities would be staffed by physicians, managers, and other contingency staff.

Kaiser also says local union workers earn 19% above the market wage for the industry in Hawaiʻi.

A strike vote does not mean a work stoppage is imminent. The union must give a 10-day notice of intent to strike before any walkout can take place.

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