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Kaiser calls strike vote ‘bullying tactic’

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As Kaiser Permanente workers in Oakland begin voting Monday on whether to authorize an October labor strike, Kaiser called the authorization vote a bullying tactic ahead of the bargaining process.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions said in a statement Monday that Kaiser has not been bargaining in good faith and strike preparations began when talks stalled July 12.

Workers are calling to restore a worker-management partnership with Kaiser bargaining in good faith, to ensure safe staffing and compassionate use of technology, to build a workforce to deal with major projected shortages of licensed and accredited staff and to protect middle-class jobs and wages.

In a statement from Kaiser, Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president of human resources, said that coalition-represented employees are already compensated above local market rates, and that the proposed wage increases would add a billion dollars to Kaiser’s labor costs at a time when they are trying to keep health care affordable.

She said the push for a divisive strike authorization vote is counterproductive. Peasnall said:

“[The strike vote is] a bullying tactic designed to pressure us during the contract bargaining process.”

While voting begins today in California, it will continue into early September at other Kaiser facilities in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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