I was on the picket line in 1997. I was a picket captain and not one SEIU member crossed the line at Portland’s Division Medical Clinic. I coordinated food bank runs, schedules for pick up and schedules for picketers. I remember speaking at a rally with around 150 people outside the KP building, and I was wearing my picket captain shirt—I wore this with pride. There was union solidarity—the Longshoremen helped us out in a number of ways, including giving about 10 of our folks jobs on the waterfront as on-calls. They made good money—it was hard work. Thirty-three days on strike was a long time but worth it. I retired in 2016 after working 26 years at Kaiser Permanente and then seven years for the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. I worked long days the last few years—but it was so different from 20 years ago. I believe in the partnership and what it does for workers. I loved working for the front line.
Kate Pingo, national coordinator (retired), Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, SEIU Local 49 (Northwest)