ESC Local 20 Members Say “Enough is Enough” to Kaiser Greed: Hundreds Join Picket Lines in Support of Local 39
For 24 hours, from 7 a.m. on November 18th to 7 a.m. on November 19th, ESC Local 20 members at Kaiser Permanente joined with 40,000 other SEIU-UHW and OPEIU Local 29 members to strike in sympathy with 700 Local 39 Stationary Engineers who are now going into their 9th week on strike.
We picketed 23 Kaiser facilities in Northern California and the Central Valley — the largest sympathy strike in 127 years. Our members showed up to tell Kaiser management that we are fed up with their greed and sacrificing our patients’ safety for profits.
Kaiser, which has raked in billions in profits during the COVID-19 pandemic, still refuses to negotiate in good faith with Local 39’s members. Now going into their 9th week of striking, Local 39 engineers have been without a contract since September 17th. Even a last-ditch effort to bring Kaiser management to the table to avert our sympathy strike showed that Kaiser is truly putting profits first — during 7 hours of negotiations, Kaiser was only in the room for 20 minutes.
Kaiser used to set the example for other medical employers to work in partnership with its experienced, expert unionized staff — but now, Kaiser executives seem to be on a warpath to break the unions, impose draconian wage and benefit cuts, and pay themselves million-dollar salaries while patient care suffers.
Our colleagues at Local 39 are an indispensable part of the patient care team at Kaiser, and we depend on them to maintain the medical equipment we use daily. Kaiser’s position that frontline workers are “overpaid” amidst a deadly global pandemic is demeaning and demoralizing, especially as it continues to make billions in profits off the backs of our members and colleagues in other unions.
Kaiser’s disrespectful behavior toward the striking Local 39 engineers is anti-worker and bad for patient care. We are so proud our members took a stand to tell Kaiser Permanente loud and clear that we will not allow them to bully any workers and threaten the quality of care our patients deserve.