Kaiser mental health strike: Sept. 5

NewsSeptember 6, 2022

We held a big Labor Day rally in Oakland with a performance by Danza Azteca and remarks from labor leaders, local elected officials, Kaiser patients, and clinicians. The event was covered by Univision and several news radio stations including KQED, KCBS and KPFA.

Addressing her colleagues, Sabrina Chaumette, a therapist in Oakland, remarked that when the strike began, her next available intake appointment was in November.

“It is unacceptable for Kaiser to rest on the shortage of providers as a national problem to explain their inability to provide you and your loved ones with adequate care. Mental health for Kaiser accounts for only 5 percent of what Kaiser offers. So your partner, your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your child, and your friend, is expendable. Because 5 percent of services means it’s inadequate. So your loved one that is getting sicker and sicker is simply, to Kaiser, the cost of doing business. … So I am on strike, going without pay, with bills to pay and a kid in college, because I believe our community is worth more than 5 percent of care.”

David Brown, whose daughter Elizabeth, died by suicide in 2018, recounted her struggle to access care from Kaiser, and asked the audience of several hundred clinicians, “How can you people help your patients if you can’t see them?”

April Jorden, a Richmond resident, held up a photo of her son Basil, who died of an overdose earlier this month after struggling to get care from Kaiser and pledged to help our struggle in any way possible.

We held picket lines in several other locations, including Fresno and Sacramento, and received press coverage in Santa Rosa and Honolulu.

Zoom Calls Regarding Our Strike

NUHW President Sal Rosselli is conducting Zoom meetings by service area to update people about the strike and answer questions. If you and your coworkers would like to set up a call with Sal, contact your steward or your union organizer.

MNA Contributes $25k to Financial Hardship Fund

Our allies are continuing to step up with financial contributions to support our strike. The Massachusetts Nurses Association is contributing $25,000 to the financial hardship fund. This comes on top of the $105,000 NUHW has already raised and has disbursed to the local funds. Outreach continues to other potential donors.

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.

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.

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