Colorado Kaiser workers begin strike considerations
On Monday, workers from Kaiser Permanente Colorado began to vote on whether to go on strike this fall, or not. Voting is ongoing nationwide. A strike would impact nearly 45% of Kaiser’s Colorado workforce and thousands of Colorado workers. Kaiser is the largest private insurance provider in the state.
A major sticking point in strike negotiations is the cost of living. The union representing Kaiser workers sought a 3% pay increase, but Kaiser is only offering a 1%increase. The union also argues that many of the facilities are under-staffed, and over-worked as a result.
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Kaiser employees are also seeking no changes to their benefits packages, and a reduction in outsourcing of workers.
Votes to consider striking will continue through September, and 85,000 Kaiser workers will participate in the vote nationwide. Union officials say that if the strike is approved it will be the largest private sector strike in two decades. Given the size of Kaiser in Colorado, it is likely that such a strike would largely impact the state.
In California, for example, 98% of Kaiser workers have already voted to go on strike. The strike, if it occurs, will likely be in October.