Kaiser mental health therapists in Northern California to begin strike August 15

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Kaiser nurses [Source: OFNHP Facebook]

Are you a Kaiser therapist? Tell the World Socialist Web Site what you are fighting for in next week’s strike by filling out the form at the bottom of this article. All submissions will be kept anonymous.

As many as 2,000 mental health care workers at Kaiser Permanente, the largest health care provider in California, are set to strike Monday, August 15th. The strike action follows a 91 percent strike authorization vote in May after contract negotiations between the workers’ union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) and the health care giant continued to stall.

The workers’ key demands include higher wages, addressing the chronic understaffing plaguing Kaiser’s mental health care division and compliance with state law guaranteeing patients timely access to mental health care. Kaiser mental health workers struck over the same basic issues in 2019 before the pandemic and in 2015. However, each time the NUHW called off the strikes without resolution to the fundamental issues. The growing anger of health care workers over deteriorating conditions has pushed the NUHW to call the first indefinite strike in its history.

To prepare to fight against any attempt by the NUHW to prematurely shut down their strike and force through a contract which falls well short of their demands, Kaiser therapists should form an independent rank-and-file strike committee, following the example of nurses at Kaiser and Stanford Health over the past nine months.

As workers across the US experience crushing inflation rates of more than 9 percent, the health care giant has not budged from its proposed pitiful 2 percent annual increase. This would represent an effective wage reduction given the historical inflation rates not seen in more than 40 years.



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