SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Thousands of mental health clinicians are expected to walk off the job on Monday at Kaiser Permanente clinics across the state.
As many as 4,000 workers are expected to go on a five-day strike. They plan to walk out at Kaiser clinics in Sacramento and up to 100 other locations. Workers say Kaiser mental health clinics are severely understaffed and that some clinicians work after hours to serve more patients.
Michelle J. Gaskill-Hames, Senior VP of Hospital and Health Plan Operations with Nothern California Kaiser Permanente, said in a statement:
“Despite the National Union of Healthcare Workers’ decision to strike, it is important our members know that our hospitals and medical offices remain open. Our commitment to patients comes first. We are working hard to deliver the high-quality care and services members and patients need. Anyone in need of urgent mental health or other care will receive the services they require. Where necessary, we will call members to reschedule some non-urgent appointments. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this unnecessary strike.
We have been jointly working with an external, neutral mediator to help us reach a collective bargaining agreement with the National Union of Healthcare Workers. The mediator recently delivered a proposed compromise to both sides that we are seriously considering; however, the union has rejected it and announced plans to strike instead of working through the mediated process.
This is NUHW’s sixth noticed strike within a single year. We believe that NUHW’s repeated call for short strikes is disruptive to patient access, operational care and service and is frankly irresponsible. Although Kaiser Permanente will make every effort to minimize patient disruption, due to the strike we may be forced to reschedule appointments and devote valuable resources needed elsewhere in our organization to instead address the continuity of care for our members and address any urgent patient care issues.”