Kaiser mental health clinicians call off open-ended strike amid recent progress in negotiations

KaiserJune 9, 2019

Statewide strike of 4,000 Kaiser psychologists, social workers, therapists and other health care professionals had been scheduled to start Tuesday

Following progress at the bargaining table in recent weeks, the member-led bargaining teams representing 4,000 Kaiser mental health clinicians and healthcare professionals throughout California voted unanimously Sunday to call off an open-ended strike scheduled to begin Tuesday.

In calling off the strike, the clinicians are accepting the challenge put forth Friday by Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for both sides to resume negotiations and reach a settlement without an open-ended strike. If Kaiser rejects the call from California’s legislative leaders, the National Union of Healthcare Workers’ member-led bargaining committees will recommend that their colleagues reject Kaiser’s last offer.

“The ball is in Kaiser’s court,” NUHW President Sal Rosselli said. “We remain ready to negotiate a contract that fully addresses the pressing problems faced by Kaiser Permanente clinicians and patients, but Kaiser is refusing to meet with us.”

Rosselli added:

“Kaiser’s last offer is better than before our members authorized an open-ended strike last month. Kaiser has finally acknowledged to its clinicians that its system is in crisis. That progress is reflected in its latest proposals, which include the framework for a six-month collaborative process to reform Kaiser’s system with everything open for discussion, including insourcing the tens of thousands of patients currently forced to find non-Kaiser therapists.

However, Kaiser is still refusing to consider adequate measures to provide immediate relief for clinicians and patients, such as establishing crisis teams at all clinics so therapists don’t have to cancel appointments with patients who have been waiting weeks or months to see them.

We feel that a settlement is within reach, and remain ready to work with Kaiser on a fair contract. But if Kaiser won’t come back to the table, we will bring their proposal back to our 4,000 members with a recommendation to vote it down.”

Although the strike has been called off,  Mental Health Parity rallies will proceed at noon Wednesday outside the State Capitol Building in Sacramento and the Ronald Reagan State Building in Los Angeles.