SAN DIEGO — Another 4,500 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers in San Diego have voted to go on strike due to “unfair working conditions.”

This coincides with an additional 2,500 healthcare employees in the San Francisco Bay Area who also announced their authorization of a strike.

This was announced in a Wednesday morning news release by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

One of the main concerns expressed by many of these healthcare workers is understaffing. In a recent survey of 33,000 employees, two-thirds of workers said they have seen care delayed or denied due to short staffing. 

“In the 36 years I’ve worked at Kaiser, now is the scariest time. Patients are waiting longer to be seen and are coming in sicker. It keeps me up at night knowing we don’t have enough staff to help them,” said Catherine Engler, a licensed vocational nurse at the Kaiser Carlsbad Clinic. “We have voted to authorize a strike because not only is Kaiser refusing to address the frightening state of patient care, but they won’t even negotiate in good faith with the workers who care for their patients every day.”

In a response to an inquiry from FOX 5 regarding staff shortages, Kaiser Permanente stated that all its medical centers in San Diego are fully staffed in accordance with what the state mandates.

These local healthcare workers are among 85,000 employees of Kaiser Permanente that are expected to strike if a new contract agreement isn’t reached by Sept. 30. If it goes into effect, this would be the largest healthcare strike in the country.

Kaiser Permanente representatives say they are committed to reaching an agreement ahead of that date.