Nearly 4,000 healthcare workers in DC region vote to approve strike at Kaiser Permanente

Nearly 4,000 healthcare workers in the D.C. region voted Monday to approve a strike at Kaiser Permanente to protest what they say are unfair labor practices.

The workers from the District, Maryland and Virginia are part of OPEIU Local 2.

Union officials say Kaiser's refusal to acknowledge under-staffing, the decline in patient care, and wages that do not keep up with the high cost of living are pushing them toward a strike.

"We've been raising the alarm about patient safety, but Kaiser isn't hearing us. Kaiser executives keep refusing to listen to frontline healthcare workers on the issues that impact the care of our patients, and they're violating the law by failing to bargain in good faith," said Katrina Schaetz, OB-GYN Clinical Assistant said in a statement. "We are standing up for more staff and better patient care. If Kaiser doesn't stop committing unfair labor practices, healthcare workers are prepared to go on strike."

Workers could strike if no agreement is reached by September 30.

The union says that early 65,000 SEIU healthcare workers in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Washington have voted to authorize a strike at Kaiser Permanente in the past two weeks.