150 healthcare workers ramp up for protest at Kaiser headquarters

Nearly 150 healthcare workers will protest at Kaiser Permanente's headquarters in Oakland, Calif., Friday, according to the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents 55,000 Kaiser workers in California.

The protesting workers claim Kaiser is "putting patient records and privacy at risk by refusing to negotiate a contract with the employees who oversee and protect millions of sensitive medical records," union officials said in a news release.

SEIU-UHW said affected employees include 60 IT workers based in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. These workers unionized in early 2016, and a bargaining team is negotiating the workers' first contract.

"The only remaining dispute in bargaining is over wage scales. We currently pay these employees the market rate for computer desktop support workers in the Riverside/San Bernardino market. Their average wage is $34.97, or more than $72,000 annually. The union is demanding that these 60 employees be paid at a much higher rate which would make them much more highly paid than similar workers in the same market. We have offered a generous increase but the union is demanding considerably more," Kaiser spokesperson John Nelson said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

"This picketing is simply over a union’s demand to get a disproportionately high wage increase for a small group of workers it now represents."



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