The National Union of Healthcare Workers, the union that represents 2,600 mental health clinicians at Kaiser hospitals and clinics across California, plan to strike for a week starting January 12. Mental health clinicians are striking to improve patient care. For years Kaiser has refused to address the systemic problems in its mental health division, including delayed care, falsifying records to conceal long wait times, slotting patients into group therapy when individual therapy would be more appropriate, and so on.
Clement Papazian, a clinical social worker at Kaiser Oakland and president of NUHW’s northern California chapter, said: “For patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mental conditions, these delays can be insurmountable obstacles, sometimes leading to tragic outcomes…. We don’t want to see patients being ignored. Kaiser’s actions are doing real harm. Even suicides have been linked to Kaiser’s delays and denial of care.”
Kaiser clinicians on strike will include social workers, psychologists, and therapists. Over 700 other Kaiser workers–medical educators, optical workers, speech pathologists, audiologists, etc–will join the strike as well. The strike will affect 35 locations across California.
To read NUHW’s press release about the strike, click here: “Kaiser Permanente Clinicians to Launch Nation’s Largest Ever Mental Health Workers’ Strike Jan. 12.”