The inflation through the clouds of recent months has turned USA in a union powder keg. To the strike of screenwriters – resolved last week – and actors in Hollywood, has been added that of the automotive sector workers in Detroit and the green light for a good part of the staff that operates in the casinos in Las Vegas, about 50,000 people, to join the strikes. In the making, the partial paralysis of dozens of hospitals and medical centers for three daysif an agreement is not reached for a new agreement with one of the largest medical corporations in the country, Kaiser Permanente.
If it ends up setting, The strike would be the most important in the history of the health sector in the US. Some 75,000 members of the SEIU-UHW union, including nurses, X-ray technicians, pharmacists and cleaning staff, are prepared to stay at home starting Wednesday, affecting the normal operation of medical centers in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Virginia, in addition to Washington DC between October 4 and 6.
Union leaders face an industry colossus. Kaiser is the largest medical organization in the country, with 39 hospitals and 700 medical offices in eight States and the District of Columbia. Total, 300,000 people work for Kaiser, a private medical service that costs on average about $480 per month for a 40-year-old adult and that can mean $1,500 per month for a family of four. Currently, the group has 12.7 million affiliated members.
On the table, the request for a considerable increase in salaries, protection against the hiring of self-employed workers and a review of the medical benefits of retired personnel, among other claims. “Workers are under pressure right now,” he said. Renee Saldana, spokesperson for SEIU-UHW. “They went through the worst global health crisis in a generation and after getting through it they have to worry about paying their rent, about not losing their house, about having to live in their cars.”
They also face the lack of staff which is lengthening shifts and making each day unpredictable. “Workers cannot sleep at night thinking about what awaits them the next day due to staffing shortages,” a Kaiser employee at a hospital in Downey, southeast of Los Angeles, told CNN.