In a world where living costs are more expensive than ever, Kaiser Permanente workers will finally get the raise they deserve.
After a historic strike and significant labor dispute, they’re walking away with a 21% pay increase over the next four years after thousands of nurses, ER techs, and pharmacists participated in a three-day strike in early October.
But this is far more than a win for them. The strike’s results could be a game-changer for the US healthcare industry.
Let’s dive into the strike’s details and what it might mean for healthcare workers nationwide!
What Was The Kaiser Strike About?
The strike at Kaiser was more than getting a bigger paycheck. It was about value, recognition, and ensuring patients receive the best care possible.
Healthcare workers have been feeling underpaid, undervalued, and stressed for a long time.
A recent study highlighted that a whopping 77% of healthcare workers predict a health crisis will happen because of employee burnout.
For Kaiser Permanente’s healthcare workers, enough was enough.
They took to the streets in a three-day strike, highlighting the understaffing crisis adversely affecting patient care.
After intense negotiations, they negotiated a generous financial boost of a $25 per hour minimum in California and $23 in other states. The company is also promising to take steps to address staffing issues.
How The Strike’s Results May Affect The Healthcare Industry
The strike agreement may have significant ripple effects in the healthcare industry.
When a healthcare giant like Kaiser acknowledges staffing issues and compensates its workers better, it could inspire other institutions to a new pay standard.
More workers will want to apply, and hospitals won’t need to be as chronically understaffed as they are now. Decent salaries and more staff also increase job satisfaction, especially in a highly stressful field like healthcare.
Happier workers lead to more productivity, translating into more patients getting proper treatment.
Which Health Professions Are In-Demand?
With Kaiser and other hospitals focusing on hiring more staff, right now is the time to research which healthcare professions are in demand. Here are a few choices you should consider:
1. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
EMTs are frontline workers ready to get you the help you need during a medical emergency. Hospitals, including Kaiser, always need extra EMTs, mainly because of the sheer unpredictability of medical emergencies. Going forward, these professionals are bound to get paid fairly and have better working conditions.
2. Registered Nurse
Registered nurses (RNs) are indispensable in a hospital setting, from patient care to administrative duties. That said, hospitals are always looking for more RNs to keep everything running smoothly. After the strikes, they may offer competitive packages or sign-on bonuses to attract potential RN talent.
3. Medical Assistant
Medical assistants play an important role in ensuring everything runs smoothly. They’re responsible for taking a patient’s vitals, setting appointments, and other administrative or clinical tasks. Given their versatility and a job growth of 14% in the next few years, expect hospitals to pay higher wages as a way to recruit and retain MAs.
4. Licensed Social Worker
Mental health issues have skyrocketed, especially since the pandemic. Licensed social workers who provide counseling and other resources are more crucial than ever. As with Kaiser, many institutions must pay these professionals more to provide quality care.
The Bottom Line
The Kaiser strike and its results remind us that collective bargaining still works.
Healthcare workers have been underpaid for way too long, and they’re finally getting recognized for their hard work.
Right now might be the best time if you plan on working in the healthcare industry. The financial perks are improving, and understaffing means hospitals nationwide need your help.
With time, let’s hope the strike’s results lead to happier healthcare workers and more efficient medical care for everyone!
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