Kaiser Mental Health Strike: Day 1
Monday, December 10
Today was Day 1 of our statewide Kaiser mental health strike. Four thousand of us — psychologists, therapists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, addiction medicine specialists, as well as dietitians, audiologists, speech pathologists, health educators, optical workers, and others — set up picket lines in front of eight Kaiser facilities throughout California today.
NUHW members picketed in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, Anaheim, and Fontana today.
At San Francisco Medical Center, we had an energetic crowd of more than 450, with strong support from CNA and Engineers Local 39. Our noontime rally featured leading mental health advocate and former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy, members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, NUHW President Sal Rosselli, and, of course NUHW members. Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, recently interviewed by USA Today, spoke of her husband’s suicide after his mental healthcare was delayed by Kaiser. Grieving parents David and Seong Brown shared the story of their daughter, Elizabeth, who they lost to suicide.
Elsewhere in Northern California, we had enthusiastic crowds and significant press coverage at San Jose Medical Center, Sacramento Medical Center, and Fresno Medical Center. Our friends from CNA and other unions, as wells as representatives from various community organizations, came out to show their support.Down south, at Los Angles Medical Center, 350 members had signed in by midday. We were joined by a good group of members from Democratic Socialists of America–L.A., CNA members from Los Angeles Medical Center, retired SEIU members from L.A County, and our fellow NUHW members from Providence Tarzana Medical Center.
Grace Regullano from UTLA spoke at our rally about the L.A. teachers’ continued fight for he future of our children and we pledged our mutual support for each other. We were also joined in her first-ever rally and strike by newly elected state senator María Elena Durazo; Mike Aguilera, representative of congressman Adam Schiff; Daysha Austin, representative from Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s office. We also were able to shut down one of the delivery entrances to LAMC with some teamster strike sanction support. The highlight of the day was a Kaiser mental health patient, Tim, who shared his experience and struggles with trying to get mental health appointments at Kaiser and showed his support for all the healthcare professionals on the line.
Elsewhere in Southern California, we demonstrated at Anaheim Medical Center, where several elected officials joined us, and at San Diego Medical Center, where we were joined by a staffer from state Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez’s office. At Fontana Medical Center, we were joined by friends from the Sierra Club and union members from UNAC. One mental health patient from Kaiser, Cassandra, joined us at our rally and spoke about how difficult it’s been to get a follow-up appointment
Check back tomorrow for more updates.