Day 2: Kaiser mental health strike

NewsAugust 16, 2022

We had strong, spirited picket lines again today in Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Santa Clara, Fresno, and Modesto.

News outlets were present at several locations. You can see photos below and the latest press coverage here and you can see NUHW’s full-page ad, which ran yesterday in Northern California’s larger newspapers, here.

We’re going to fan out to new locations for pickets on Wednesday and Thursday, and then gather together Friday in Oakland, where we’ll march to Kaiser headquarters for a big rally to end our first week.

State Senate President Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon issued a statement commending Kaiser clinicians for “standing up for themselves and the wellbeing of their patients.” Here is the full statement:

“The decision to strike impacts workers, families, and entire communities — it is not a decision taken lightly, and we commend the NUHW workers who are standing up for themselves and the wellbeing of their patients.

“The stress, uncertainty, and upheaval of the last two and a half years has taken a toll on all of us, especially young people and people who struggle with mental illness, and has made it abundantly clear how critical our mental health workers are. The psychologists, therapists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses across Kaiser’s Northern California branches have played a central role in caring for patients, saving lives, and supporting our communities—now we have the opportunity to support them in return. 

“Kaiser’s reputation for providing accessible, quality care is made possible by the longstanding labor partnerships that have ensured fair wages and benefits for the health care workers responsible for delivering that care. We trust Kaiser will rise to the moment with NUHW to work diligently to come to an agreement that avoids disrupting the mental health delivery system, hurting patients, and alienating essential health care workers.”

At our rally in Oakland, we read an open letter that Laura Bramble, a Kaiser patient, wrote to Dr. Sameer Awsare in response to his recent video blaming clinicians for the problems with Kaiser’s mental health services. Here are the last few sentences of Laura’s letter to Dr. Awsare:

“Maybe if Kaiser Management saw a face, a name, a person, patient — or if all affected mental health patients joined their striking clinicians in a show of support at a rally in Oakland on Friday — maybe if you saw the human beings who are tired of begging for the care we need, that we are paying for, and are not getting.

If you could see the people you’re doing harm to by choosing to delay signing a fair and just contract in service of patient care and the highly trained, caring providers who work tirelessly for us, because they treat from their hearts as much as their minds

If you could see the serserving, hurting patients affected by this on-going negotiating nightmare, Then maybe you all would get it.

Until then, Shame on you.

Very Truly yours,
Laura Bramble

Tomorrow’s picket lines will be outside medical centers in Fresno, Richmond, Roseville, San Leandro, San Rafael, Santa Clara, South San Francisco, Stockton, Vallejo, and Walnut Creek. You can see the full list of scheduled picket lines through August 26 here.

You can see the full list of scheduled picket lines through August 26 here.

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