In These Times: Our Kaiser Strike

February 7th, 2012

Weekly Workers’ Roundup: Bay Area Nurses Walk Out, Puget Sound Truck Drivers Protest

by: Patrick Glennon, Working In These Times

 

Nurses at Kaiser Permanente in California walked off the job Tuesday, expressing solidarity with optical workers and mental health specialists in the midst of contract negotiations.

Union representatives argue that recent proposals would slash workers’ benefits significantly and render staffing levels insufficient.

The California Nurses Association (CNA) said that the walk-off is the largest the HMO has ever seen. The National Union of Healthcare Workers, the union responsibe for the negotiations, coordinated the strikes with CNA. There are three Kaiser facilities in San Mateo County—San Mateo, Redwood City and San Francisco.

According to Dr. Spencer Gross, Kaiser executives’ recent proposals betray a predilection for greed: “What it boils down to is Kaiser top executives putting profits before patient care.”

CNA co-president and practicing nurse Zenei Cortez echoed this sentiment, saying that it’s “disappointing that Kaiser is refusing to bargain for sufficient staffing for mental health services and a secure retirement and accessible health coverage for its front-line caregivers despite its record profits”

See video above for more information on the dispute.