LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals delivered a 10-day notice of strike against Kaiser Permanente Thursday, saying thousands of nurses and health care professionals in Southern California may strike beginning Monday, Nov. 15.

According to the union’s press release, nearly 32,000 Kaiser workers in total would be on strike, making it the nation’s largest labor strike in 2021.

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“Registered nurses and health care professionals are striking over Kaiser Permanente’s proposals to depress wages for current employees and slash wages for incoming workers during a national health care staffing crisis,” the release read in part.

Some 366 Southern California Kaiser facilities would be affected, including hospitals and medical centers in Orange and Los Angeles Counties, the union said.

“For health care providers, a strike is always a last resort, but it’s clear from the employer’s latest proposals that this is the path they’ve chosen. Nurses and health care professionals have one priority: delivering the best possible care to our patients. Kaiser’s actions are destructive to that priority. These next few weeks will define us,” UNAC/UHCP President Denise Duncan, RN, said in part.

In a statement addressing the 10-strike notice, Kaiser officials said they have been regularly meeting with union members since late September and believe an agreement is possible, though went on to say there are financial challenges involved.

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Kaiser’s statement also read in part:

“The challenge we are trying to address in partnership with our unions is the increasingly unaffordable cost of health care. And the fact is, wages and benefits account for half of Kaiser Permanente’s operational costs.

Over the course of our 24 years of labor partnership, we – labor and management – have negotiated wages and benefits primarily at a national level, so pay has not always been matched to the markets where we operate.

We are asking our labor partners to work with us to address this very real problem through an interest-based process, just as we have done with other challenges over the course of our partnership.”

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Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Kaiser Permanente, Arlene Peasnall, who released the statement, said that if a strike does occur, Kaiser’s facilities will be staffed by trained managers and contingency staff brought in as needed, while physicians would continue to care for patients.