WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) — Kaiser Permanente workers in the D.C. metro area have voted to authorize joining the nationwide strike beginning October 14, a representative from their union said Monday.

More than 4,500 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente in the D.C. region will join the strike, the largest in more than two decades, according to the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

“We believe the only way to ensure our patients get the best care is to take this step,” said Juanita Bowman, a clinical assistant at Kaiser Permanente in Largo, Md. “Our goal is to get Kaiser to stop committing unfair labor practices and get back on track as the best place to work and get care. There is no reason for Kaiser to let a strike happen when it has the resources to invest in patients, communities and workers.”

The strike will affect more than 950 Kaiser Permanente workers in Baltimore and another 1,500 in southern Maryland.

Monday evening, Kaiser Permanente called the union’s demands unfair and their tactics disruptive.

“To be clear, Kaiser Permanente has presented a contract proposal that would provide annual pay increases that would keep our employees compensated at higher than market averages and maintain excellent benefits. Contrary to the union’s claims, there are no pay cuts and no changes to our employees’ defined pension benefit under our proposal,” the company said in a statement.

Picket lines will be set up at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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