More than 900 imaging specialists and pharmacy technicians at Kaiser Permanente are continuing to strike across Oregon and Southwest Washington. The walkout is expected to last until the end of this week.
Workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 walked out Nov. 1 at Cascade Park Medical Office in east Vancouver over what they say are unfair labor practices. These workers include X-ray, mammography, MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, EEG, cardiovascular lab, special procedures technologists, sonographers, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and imaging assistants. The union is seeking a 42 percent salary increase for its members, a demand characterized by a Kaiser spokesperson as “frankly, not reasonable.”
Bargaining between Kaiser Permanente and the union continued on Nov. 10, but an agreement has not yet been reached. The strike is set to end at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The strike for imaging services and pharmacy technicians continues at these additional locations: Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center, Kaiser Airport Way central pharmacy, Kaiser North Lancaster Medical Office and Kaiser Westside Medical Center.
On Oct. 1, more than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente workers walked off the job across the United States, in what was the largest health care strike in U.S. history. UFCW Local 555 chose to bargain separately from that coalition of unions.
Last week, Washington Kaiser workers represented by Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199NW, part of the coalition of unions, ratified a separate contract that included pay raises of 17 percent to 25 percent. However, UFCW Local 555 President Dan Clay said the union is “hoping for a contract that truly reflects the excellence our members deserve, not simply any contract.”
Care during the strike
As the strike continues, Kaiser said patients may experience longer than usual wait times. Some procedures or nonurgent appointments may need to be rescheduled, but Kaiser will contact patients in advance.
“We want to reassure you that your care is our top priority,” the organization said on its website. “We have contingency plans in place to help ensure you continue to receive safe, high-quality care during this period.”
During the strike period, the pharmacy at Vancouver’s Orchards Medical Office is closed, along with these locations in Oregon: Gateway Medical Office, Keizer Station Medical Office, Rockwood Medical Office, Sunnybrook Medical Office and Tualatin Medical Office.
The following X-ray/imaging locations are also temporarily closed: Eugene Chase Gardens Medical Office, Keizer Station Medical Office, Sunset Medical Office and Tualatin Medical Office.
Kaiser members will have options to fill or refill their prescriptions via mail order, at open pharmacies, in the KP app or at outside retail pharmacies. Pharmacy locations at hospitals and medical offices with urgent care clinics will remain open.
Kaiser said to call 1-888-810-7499 to schedule an imaging appointment. To search for a pharmacy, visit the facility directory at kp.org.
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