Employees of the Kaiser Permanente facility in California began a seven day strike at the Sacramento building as well as the other health provider’s offices across the state. The disgruntled employees appear to be unimpressed with the facility’s ongoing staffing problems. Those present for the protesting that began on Monday, January 12, 2015- were not only social workers, but those from various therapy departments as well as psychologists. All of whom declared today’s protest was just the beginning and that they were additionally planning on launching separate strikes throughout over thirty other Kaiser properties.
Spokesperson’s for the healthcare provider reported the current striking situation will have zero effect on how they will address patient care. Throughout the week if patients wish to come in, they are advised they should do so without any reservations. Some patients have been contacted to reschedule appointments that were previously made with certain staff members that will not be in this week in lieu of the union strike. The company representative also informed the media that for any therapeutic upcoming needs that they would partner with the facility to ensure patient care was met just as it always has been prior to the employee/provider disagreement.
Union reps have spread thoughts that the Kaiser firm has not been staffing their facilities adequately since they began seeing an increase in their patient enrollment. Some feel the recent rise in patients has developed all because of the Affordable Care Act changes providing most employees with some form of health insurance that prior to recent, was never available. Kaiser reportedly underwent union negotiations just a few days ago and was under the assumption that it was a productive meeting.
Kaiser group has told the press that were present during today’s strikes and that they sincerely hope the employees return to work. They claim they are prepared to bargain with the union and come to some agreement so that all will be prosperous for their patients, which should be everyone’s common goal. Just to further provide some backstory on this company, Kaiser has already been fined $4 million in the fall of 2014 for not providing patients with adequate care within a timely manner.
Most of the employees that were interviewed from various media outlets today reported they feel the provider has continued to aim for profit gains while they work completely understaffed and are concerned for the wellbeing and safety of their clients. The union behind the Kaiser employees “NUHW”, or National Union of Healthcare Workers; is in representation of 5K of the 175K employees at the Kaiser Permanente’s location. Dating back to 2009, the union has never been able to come to an agreement with the provider. Apparently the employees have been working without being under a contract for those past six years. Hopefully, the employees and Kaiser will work collectively to come to an amicable contract as a massive amount of Californians heavily depend on the Kaiser facilities for care.