UNITEHERE! Local 5
For Immediate Release for November 9, 2021
Bryant de Venecia
Cell Phone: (808) 546-0024
Nearly 2,000 health care professionals in Hawaii will strike against Kaiser Permanente beginning November 22
After months of negotiations with almost no movement from the company, nearly 2,000 Hawaii health care workers say, “enough is enough!” and will strike for better contract
(Hawaii) – Nearly 2,000 UNITE HERE Local 5 members at Kaiser Permanente will strike beginning November 22nd at 5:30 AM. Local 5 will join 32,000 health care workers across the nation who are ready to strike against the company.
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii workers are available for interview on Wednesday, November 10, 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM at UNITE HERE Local 5 headquarters (1516 S King St. Honolulu, HI 96826, parking off of Young St.)
The strike will impact 20 Kaiser Permanente facilities all over Hawaii. Workers are striking over wages and concerns about short staffing that the company has thus far failed to address. Months of negotiations have passed, and the unions saw minimal movement from Kaiser Permanente at the bargaining table. Kaiser Permanente’s latest proposal is an insulting 2% wage increase contingent upon union’s agreement to a two-tier wage system, which threatens to cut 26-33% of wages for all future hires. Kaiser Permanente also refuses to address the short-staffing impacting all its facilities. Workers report being stressed, overworked, and burnt out while taking care of our community throughout the pandemic.
Stephanie Meredith, a Ward Clerk in Labor and Delivery at the Moanalua facility shares, “Enough is enough! No more health care heroes turning to health care zeroes. We’re going to fight for what we’re worth, for the future of our jobs and our community. We will be here for as long as it takes until Kaiser Permanente wakes up and gets it right.”
UNITE HERE Local 5 members voted overwhelmingly to authorize the strike with a 93% yes votes. Since then, other Kaiser Permanente Hawaii workers—Pharmacists, Physical Therapists and Mental Health professionals—also voted to authorize a strike.
Kaiser Permanente is worth over $42 billion and has amassed a fortune of $44.5 billion in cash reserves. In 2020, the company made $2.2 billion in profits, while frontline health care workers risked their lives in the pandemic and the country faced a historic economic crisis. Kaiser Permanente did so well despite COVID-19 that they rejected $500 million in federal CARES Act money to support its operations. Membership grew by 17% nationally since 2015; 5% in Hawaii alone.
UNITE HERE Local 5 represents roughly 2,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente. Local 5 is a part of the Alliance of Health Care Unions, which represents over 50,000 members across hundreds of job classifications in nearly every geographic area where Kaiser Permanente has a presence. 32,000 health care workers in Northwest and Southern California already announced that they will go on strike on November 15.
Local 5 represents approximately 12,000 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care and food service industries and is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents over 250,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.
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