The toll of the coronavirus pandemic has prompted nurses, front-line technicians, and other hospital employees to strike.
The pandemic has weakened the health care system that was already suffering from worker shortages and burnout. Patients will eventually be unable to receive adequate care if workers leave due to stress and violence.
Unions representing over 24,000 nurses and other hospital workers in California and Oregon authorised strikes at Kaiser Permanente facilities on Tuesday.
For the past seven months, more than 700 nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital, a Tenet Healthcare facility in Massachusetts, have been on strike.
Approximately 2,000 employees at Mercy Hospital in New York, which is part of the Catholic Health System, have been on strike since the beginning of October.
Last month, home care workers in Connecticut organised a strike for better pay. Other recent health-care strikes have occurred in Alabama, Montana, Oregon and among other states.
Jennifer Stone, a unionised ER technician at Sutter Delta Medical Center in California, said earlier this month in a press release that they were going to drown and that there were simply not enough staff.
Between February 2020 and September 2021, the health-care industry lost over 540,000 jobs. There are 117,000 fewer people in hospitals, and 247,000 fewer employees in nursing homes.
Low staffing levels are a common cause of health-care work stoppages, and the pandemic has exacerbated the problem in many areas.