More Kaiser workers to join picket lines Wednesday

By Amelia Templeton (OPB)
Oct. 31, 2023 4:44 p.m.

Pharmacy technician Liz Binder pickets on Southeast Sunnyside Road in front of the Kaiser Permanente Sunnybrook Medical Office in Clackamas, Ore., Oct. 25, 2023. Several outpatient pharmacies have been temporarily closed due to the strike, including at Sunnybrook.

April Ehrlich / OPB

More than 600 Kaiser Permanente imaging technologists are set to strike Wednesday when their contract expires.


The imaging technologists are members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. The newly striking workers will join around 370 Kaiser pharmacy workers, also part of UFCW Local 555, who’ve been on strike since Oct. 1.

The imaging workers strike begins at 6 a.m. and will end Nov. 18.

It’s the latest in a series of labor actions that have disrupted health care in the Pacific Northwest this fall and led to growing wages for workers still stretched thin years after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The union is not discouraging anyone from seeking care and said getting medical care is not considered crossing a picket line. But the group is warning that some appointments and procedures may be delayed during the walkout.


“These workers are essential to their entire operation,” said Miles Eshaia, communications coordinator for UFCW Local 555.

The striking workers include X-ray, mammography, MRI and ultrasound technologists, among others.

A Kaiser spokesperson said imaging departments in Kaiser’s hospitals will remain open, but some non-urgent imaging appointments may need to be rescheduled. In those cases, Kaiser will reach out to patients directly — they do not need to call. Any changes to facility schedules will be posted on

Eshaia said the union is seeking a roughly 40% pay wage increase spread out across a four-year contract. Kaiser’s offer is 20%, he said.

Wednesday’s planned walkout follows a recent strike by more than 75,000 Kaiser workers nationwide, including thousands of members of SEIU Local 49 in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su helped the two sides reach a contract after that strike, which was deemed by many to be the largest health care strike in U.S. history. The deal, ratified earlier this month, included a 21% wage increase over the four-year contract and a $23 minimum wage.

Meanwhile, 1,300 PeaceHealth workers in Longview, Vancouver and Eugene have returned after a five-day walkout last week and are working without a contract.

They are members of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Local 5017 and include technicians and lab professionals.

The union has returned to the bargaining table this week but said the workers could strike again if there isn’t progress settling their contract.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that “technologists” is the accurate title for imaging professionals.