Kaiser Permanente workers in California have voted to strike beginning in October, according to a statement from the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

The strike would affect more than 17,000 Kaiser workers in Los Angeles County, and 3,600 at Valley locations in Woodland Hills and Panorama City.

Members of the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West were given a little more than two weeks to vote on whether to authorize a strike.

In California, about two-thirds of union members cast ballots. Of 37,000 votes, 98 percent decided to strike. Only 867 California workers decided against the strike.

"Kaiser Permanente and SEIU-UHW have been working together toward a mutually beneficial agreement as part of the national bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions that began in April," said John Nelson, vice president of communications for Kaiser.

"Unfortunately, SEIU-UHW leadership has decided to use the threat of a strike as a bargaining tactic, designed to divide employees and mischaracterize Kaiser Permanente’s position."

Kaiser employees in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia will vote to strike through mid-September.

Kaiser workers are striking to make sure there is adequate staffing at locations, build the workforce to deal with projected staffing shortages and for better wages and benefits, according to SEIU-UHW.

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