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The Labor Law Insider: Understanding the Risk of Strikes Faced by the Healthcare Industry


Healthcare workers and employers have faced enormous pressures during the pandemic, struggling with competing issues related to public health and worker safety. In 2021 there were 14 health care worker strikes, including a handful of works stoppages that lasted weeks or even months. These strikes by healthcare workers related to demands to improve terms and conditions of employment such as hours, safety protocols, and staffing. Wages seemingly took a back door to these issues in several instances. Other unions threatened significant strikes as part of the bargaining process, including a threatened work stoppage of 32,000 workers in California, who reached a last-minute settlement with Kaiser Permanente.

Yet, strikes in the healthcare industry can be particularly disruptive to the communities they serve, whether undertaken by professional staff, or those who perform the maintenance, food service or other hourly functions in a hospital or nursing home setting. Further, there is reason to anticipate greater organizing activity in the health care sector, and often that activity is accompanied by work disruptions as part of the campaign, or after a successful union vote when the parties are bargaining or reach impasse on a first collective bargaining agreement.

Join our Labor Law Insiders: Husch Blackwell's Tom Godar, Terry Potter, Rufino Gaytán and Adam Doerr as they discuss the unique vulnerabilities faced by the healthcare industry at this juncture of history, including the impact on bargaining and of expanded union organizing activities. Our Insiders also explore some actions that employers can take to reduce the possible conflicts between employees and management during this time of extraordinary challenge in the health care market.


Contact us

If you have questions regarding union organizing issues and your workplace, contact Tom GodarTerry PotterRufino Gaytán, Adam Doerr or your Husch Blackwell attorney.


Thomas P. Godar

Of Counsel

Terry L. Potter

Senior Counsel

Rufino Gaytán III

Senior Counsel

Adam C. Doerr

Senior Counsel