Emergency services remain open as Kaiser employees walk out

Emergency services remain open as Kaiser employees walk out

Kaiser Permanente and unions failed to reach a deal during a bargaining session in San Francisco yesterday, causing an estimated 75,000 Kaiser Permanente employees to walk off the job Wednesday morning, including those at Richmond's Kaiser Hospital.

While doctors and most nurses are not part of the strike, those who walked out include optometrists, pharmacists, x-ray technicians, phlebotomists, nursing assistants, and housekeepers.

In a statement posted on its website, Kaiser said its hospitals and emergency departments would remain open, but non-urgent appointments and procedures may be delayed.

“We are disappointed that some unions have called on employees to participate in a labor strike. In California, the strike is scheduled from October 4 at 6 a.m. through October 7 at 6 a.m. As a result of this strike, we may experience high call volumes, resulting in longer than usual wait times.  We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience,” the statement read.

A statement from Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West said Kaiser executives are bargaining in "bad faith."

"Kaiser executives are bargaining in bad faith over solutions to the Kaiser short-staffing crisis, and the safety of workers and patients is on the line. As frontline healthcare workers, we’ve repeatedly raised concerns with Kaiser executives about how the Kaiser short-staffing crisis is harming workers and patients, but they aren’t listening. Going on strike may be the only way to address Kaiser’s unfair labor practices and secure a strong contract with the pay and benefits needed to retain world-class workers and attract new workers to ensure quality patient care," Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West said.

The strike is expected to last until Saturday.

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