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Kaiser mental health strike: Sept. 2

NewsSeptember 2, 2022

We had another strong day on the strike lines with Assemblymember Mia Bonta joining us in San Leandro, San Francisco Supervisor Hilary Ronen joining us in San Francisco, AFSCME Local 3299 providing lunch to Oakland strikers and a KPFA reporter interviewing folks in Walnut Creek. See below for photos from today’s picket lines and click here the latest media coverage.

Good Strike Fund News

If you didn’t see the email that went out earlier today, the NUHW central strike fund has distributed $105,000 in donations to all of the local funds on a per capita basis. This shows that community support is growing. We’ve also taken out ads promoting the funds across social media to boost contributions and are making fresh appeals to allies.

More Kaiser Gaslighting

In an email this afternoon, Kaiser executives showed just how dishonest and manipulative they can be — and also how desperate they’re getting about our strike.

Not only did they spin a fantasy about what happened in bargaining prior to the strike, they asked everyone to come back to work — without a contract — for the sake of Kaiser patients.

This strike is about helping patients. For Kaiser to underfund its behavioral health services, violate state law and make patients wait far too long for appointments — and then have the gall to call on clinicians to give up the fight to improve patient care because Kaiser won’t provide adequate services during the strike is the height of hypocrisy. Why does Kaiser keep trying to blame and shame clinicians for the problems that it causes?

Kaiser’s statement on bargaining was just as disingenuous. You can click here for a letter Greg Tegenkamp, our lead negotiator, wrote to Kaiser officials earlier in the day that outlines what really happened in bargaining. Here are three key points:

  • Kaiser executives made an offer on the Friday before our strike. The offer included improved wages, but made no significant movement in terms of workload sustainability and patient care. Moreover, they told us their proposal was a “Conditional Offer” which we had to accept in its entirety and recommend to all members or it was off the table.

  • Our Bargaining Team made a good faith counteroffer that accepted Kaiser’s wage proposal and offered revised proposals that still included more IPC time, a ratio of six return appointments for every new appointment, and limits on new patients for clinicians who could not provide legally required return access to existing patients.

  • When Kaiser rejected our counteroffer, it modified its conditional offer, but that proposal was worse than its original offer. It made no movement on workload and access issues, and would have given management more control to block transfers as well as delayed implementation of our agreement to no longer have inactive patients stay on clinicians’ panels for two years.

With respect to returning to the bargaining table, here is what Greg wrote to Kaiser officials:

Our bargaining committee is ready, willing, and able to meet beginning today. We are ready to have dialog and exchange proposals at the bargaining table. Just tell us when the Employer is ready, and we will be there.

Join Us: Labor Day Rally and Picnic in Oakland

We’re gearing up for a big Labor Day Rally and Picnic in Oakland. If you’re in the area, please bring your friends and family for some picketing and a big rally with patients and elected officials followed by a fun picnic at Mosswood Park across the street from the Oakland Medical Center.

RSVP here: nuhw.org/rsvplaborday using your unique ID.

Here are the details:

WHAT: Labor Day Rally and Picnic with friends, family and community allies.

WHEN: Arrive at 10:30 a.m., Rally at 11:30, picnic to follow the rally.

WHERE: Picketing and rally outside Oakland Medical Center, 3600 Broadway. Picnic with lots of food from local barbecue restaurants and cold drinks will be across the street at Mosswood Park.

RSVP: RSVP here and register using your unique id:

Financial hardship

We have compiled a Hardship Fund FAQ explaining how to access or contribute to the more than 20 hardship funds that have been set up by clinicians at different locations. Dozens of people have already received assistance from these funds, which are growing every day. The centralized NUHW fund has been getting donations and we are in the process of disbursing that money to the local funds.

If you need financial support to sustain the strike, please fill out the form at nuhw.org/tempinfo. We can discuss a number of options, including possible temporary per diem work with behavioral health practices that have been in contact with us