Health care workers at Kaiser Permanente's Fresno facilities could join a second worker strike in November. Credit: Julianna Morano / Fresnoland

What's at stake?

Thousands of healthcare workers will walk off the job Wednesday to protest the hospital's staffing levels.

Thousands of Kaiser Permanente employees in Fresno and beyond will walk off the job Wednesday morning – the start a three-day strike in protest of what the union calls Kaiser’s staffing crisis.

The nonprofit healthcare giant and a coalition of unions representing healthcare workers at facilities across the country met through midday Tuesday, attempting to avert a strike, according to a news release from Kaiser on Monday.

Operations at Kaiser’s facilities will face disruptions as close to 75,000 workers in California and several other states take to picket lines.

The striking workers include respiratory therapists, lab technicians, pharmacists, housekeepers, and other employees.

In Fresno, workers will picket outside the Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center starting at 6 a.m., local union leaders confirmed.

Kaiser Permanente shared more details of its plans to weather the work stoppage this week, including hiring contract workers, rescheduling some appointments, and partnering with community pharmacies.

“Our plans ensure that the urgent needs of our members and patients are the top priority,” a statement from Kaiser on Tuesday said.

Here’s what patients should know during the Kaiser strike in Fresno.

Will Kaiser hospitals or offices close during the strike in Fresno?

In California, all facilities are “open and operating during normal hours,” according to a statement sent out to patients Tuesday.

Physicians, nurses, managers, and other employees will continue to work through the strike, Kaiser officials said, and will receive help from temporary contract workers as needed.

The California Nurses Association, which represents nurses at Kaiser’s facilities in California, said in an emailed statement to Fresnoland on Wednesday that the union is calling on Kaiser to “settle a fair contract that respects workers and patients” in solidarity with the striking workers.

“RNs know the devastating impacts of Kaiser’s manufactured staffing crisis on patient care,” said CNA president Catherine Kennedy, “including delays in care and lack of access.”

The nurses’ union was on the verge of a strike less than a year ago before reaching an agreement in November 2022.

Kaiser shared in an additional statement Wednesday that some labs and radiology and optical locations may reduce their hours or temporarily close. Patients who require any of these services urgently can call 866-454-8855 24/7 for help.

What if I need emergency care during the Kaiser strike in Fresno?

Kaiser stated in their Oct. 2 release that hospitals and emergency departments will remain open across their locations for the duration of a strike.

The healthcare system will also hire healthcare professionals “contracted to serve in critical care roles” during the strike.

What will happen to my scheduled appointments?

Some “nonurgent,” “non-emergency” and “elective” services may be rescheduled during the strike, according to Kaiser.

In a message to patients Sunday, Kaiser leaders said they’ll contact patients in advance if they need to postpone an appointment and that there’s “no need to call or email your doctor’s office at this time.”

How will I get my prescriptions?

The coalition of unions planning to strike covers Kaiser pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, according to a union news release.

Despite this, inpatient pharmacies in Kaiser will remain open, according to Monday’s statement from the healthcare provider.

Kaiser anticipates some outpatient pharmacies will reduce hours or temporarily close due to the strike. In Wednesday’s statement, the nonprofit encouraged patients to choose their nearest open pharmacy to obtain new or urgent prescriptions.

Kaiser sent an additional message to patients Tuesday, encouraging the use of Kaiser’s mail-order prescription delivery option. 

Northern California patients, including those in Fresno, can call 1-866-206-2983 24/7 to order prescriptions. Patients can also visit or use the Kaiser Permanente app.

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