Kaiser Mental Health Strike: Day 4
Thursday, December 13
As we get closer to the end of our weeklong strike, our energy and passion show no sign of waning. We staged 13 pickets throughout California: Fresno, Redwood City, San Jose, San Leandro, San Rafael, South Sacramento, South San Francisco, Stockton, Vacaville, and Walnut Creek in the north; Fontana, Irvine, Los Angeles (Harbor City), and Woodland Hills in the south. We were joined again by friends and supporters from the California Nurses Association and other unions, as well as Kaiser mental health patients and their families. And Patrick Kennedy recorded a message of support for NUHW members throughout the state.
In Northern California, we had a large and robust crowd in Walnut Creek, where we received news coverage from KTVU and some homemade lumpia from a Kaiser patient grateful for our efforts. At our noontime rally in South Sacramento, we heard compelling stories from a Kaiser patient and the mother of a patient who had died from a drug overdose. In San Rafael, we were joined by local healthcare expert Suzanne Gordon. During the rally, two clinicians spoke about the importance of improving access to mental healthcare services for Latino patients. We were visited by reporters from the Vacaville Reporter and the Fairfield Daily Republic at our picket line in Vacaville. In Redwood City, we were joined in the afternoon by several Stanford students who wanted to join the march and show support.
In Southern California, we took over the Woodland Hills courtyard and marched through Fontana Medical Center and South Bay Medical Center. At Irvine Medical Center, in a combined picket of San Diego and Orange County, we were inspired and encouraged by the many community supporters, elected officials, clergy, and other union members who continue to join us on the lines and share their appreciation for our commitment to fight for our patients and our families.
We were joined at our Irvine rally by a private practice psychologist, Parie Faridnia, who shared her solidarity and her experience of seeing KP patients have to go out-of-network because of the excessive wait times.Gloria Alvarado, executive director of the Orange County Labor Federation, joined us again today and reminded us that she brings the support of more than 250,000 other union members in Orange County. Other community supporters, including OC Women’s March activist Felicity Figueroa; Laura Reyes and Damian Garcia from UDW, AFSCME Local 3930; Luis Aleman from the OC Democratic party; and veteran Armando Telles all showed their support. Irvine City Councilmembers Farrah Khan and Melissa Fox pledged to continue to fight with us. Newly elected Congresswoman Katie Porter pledged her support and thanked us for fighting for what’s right. Reverend Sarah Galveston and Rabbi Steve also joined us.
In Fontana, we were joined by State Senator Connie Leyva (District 20). At South Bay Medical Center, we were joined by Cody Bridges from Assemlymember Al Muratsuchi’s office. Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) was out in full force at Woodland Hills. Betty Toto from the Single Payer Coalition, Jeff Bigelow from AFSCME Council 36, and NUHW member Julia Sidrow-Thompson from Providence Tarzana also came out to show their support.
The fight continues tomorrow — check in tomorrow for an update on the final day of our strike.
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