Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians postpone 5-day statewide strike following the death of Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson

KaiserNovember 10, 2019

Four thousand psychologists, mental health therapists and other medical professionals at Kaiser Permanente have postponed a five-day strike that was to set begin Monday in deference to the passing of Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson on Sunday.

After learning of Tyson’s death, 170 member-leaders of the National Union of Healthcare Workers convened a call and voted to postpone the strike. A new date for the strike has not yet been set.

“We offer our condolences to Bernard’s family, friends and colleagues,” NUHW President Sal Rosselli said. “Our members dedicate their lives to helping people through tragedy and trauma, and they understood that a strike would not be appropriate during this period of mourning and reflection.”

Rosselli, who has led health care unions in California for more than 30 years and spearheaded the formation of the Coalition of Kaiser Unions added:

“I’ve known Bernard since he was a manager at Kaiser Oakland Medical Center in the early 1980s. While we had our differences, I had tremendous respect for him and his willingness to collaborate with workers to make Kaiser the model provider of medical services in California. We weren’t able to achieve that same level of collaboration when it comes to Kaiser’s mental health services, but I believed that he did want Kaiser to achieve real parity for mental health care, and I know our members remain fully committed to realizing that goal.”

The strike, which had been scheduled to go from Monday, Nov. 11 to Friday, Nov. 15, would have shut down mental health services at more than 100 Kaiser clinics and medical facilities from San Diego to Sacramento.

Kaiser clinicians have not set another date for their week-long strike. They remain ready to resume negotiations with Kaiser to discuss their proposals for improving access to mental health care and boosting the recruitment and retention of clinicians by providing them with the same retirement and health benefits that Kaiser has agreed to give 140,000 other employees in contracts settled over the past year.