2,000 Kaiser mental health clinicians walk out during sympathy strike
SAN FRANCISCO - Kaiser Permanente employees are walking out on the job Friday for a second day; in this case, about 2,000 mental health workers plan to strike. Although they are still bargaining themselves, they're walking out in solidarity with their colleagues.
The walkout follows what occurred on Thursday when many stood in solidarity for local engineers, who say they aren't getting the treatment they deserve.
"We're coming out in sympathy because an injury to one is an injury to all," medical social worker Jennifer Key said. "And our local 39 engineers are the ones who maintain our facilities and equipment so we can provide good patient care, so we are here in solidarity with Local 39."
Walkouts are expected all over the Bay Area.
MORE: Kaiser responds to mental health professionals threatening to strike
Mental health clinicians say Kaiser has rejected proposals in increased staffing and cut down on wait times for patients to access mental health care. Some say their patients wait up to three months for therapy appointments.
Kaiser, meanwhile, put out a video statement saying they are doing everything they can to comfortably put people back at work.
"We've been bargaining with some unions and proposed no takeaways and annual increases which will keep our valued staff among the highest paid in the country," said Michelle Gaskill-Hames, senior vice president of hospital and health plan operations.
Kaiser says many outpatient services will be interrupted and patients will be contacted to be rescheduled.