4,000 Kaiser mental health clinicians, healthcare professionals call off June 11 strike

Four thousand mental health clinicians and healthcare professionals at Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente facilities have called off an open-ended strike scheduled to begin June 11, citing progress at the bargaining table, the union that represents them announced.

The strike was slated to include psychologists, therapists, social workers, psychiatric nurses and other medical professionals and would have affected more than 100 Kaiser clinics and medical facilities in California.

But workers decided to accept a challenge from state Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for both sides to continue to negotiate in good faith and reach a settlement without a strike,  National Union of Healthcare Workers representatives said in a news release.

Sal Rosselli, union president, said progress at the bargaining table helped spur the decision, but more progress is needed.

"Kaiser has finally acknowledged to its clinicians that its system is in crisis. That progress is reflected in its latest proposals, which include the framework for a six-month collaborative process to reform Kaiser's system with everything open for discussion," he said.

"However, Kaiser is still refusing to consider adequate measures to provide immediate relief for clinicians and patients," Mr. Rosselli added.

John Nelson, vice president of communications for Kaiser Permanente, also cited progress in a statement to Becker's.

"As we have communicated to our employees and others, we have addressed the key issues raised by labor and management," said Mr. Nelson. "We are pleased that the NUHW strike has been called off; it was the responsible thing to do.  We credit this decision to our therapists, who have been providing leadership at the table and representing the voice of our employees in all these discussions." 

Union representatives said rallies are still scheduled for June 12 outside the state Capitol Building in Sacramento, Calif., and the Ronald Reagan State Building in Los Angeles.


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