Protests begin at Kaiser Permanente hospitals across California: 7 things to know

Healthcare workers began protesting Feb. 14 at hospitals owned by Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente.

Here are seven things to know.

1. Protests have occurred at facilities across California. An estimated 234 workers participated in Antioch, 253 in south Sacramento, 297 in Oakland and 245 in Stockton, according to the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents more than 55,000 California Kaiser Permanente employees.

2. In a statement to Becker's Hospital Review, John Nelson, a Kaiser Permanente vice president of communications, described the picketing turnout as "modest, with the number of participants at any given time less than 100 — sometimes far less — except Oakland where the number reached a little over 100 at its peak."

3. Mr. Nelson said SEIU-UHW is busing in some protesters, and most protesters appear to take part in picketing during their lunch break. He also said participants "have been entirely appropriate and there have been no disruptions."

4. The recent protests are part of a larger effort, involving 32 Kaiser Permanente hospitals statewide where workers are slated to picket.

5. According to union spokesperson Sean Wherley, workers are protesting because they are concerned about the health system's plans. SEIU-UHW has said Kaiser Permanente is seeking a 20 percent pay cut for new employees in the Central Valley of California, and a 10 percent pay cut for new workers in the Sacramento area. The union has also said the healthcare giant plans to outsource nearly 300 pharmacy warehouse jobs in Oakland, Livermore and Downey, and move hundreds of jobs at Los Angeles call centers to other areas of California.

6. Mr. Nelson has called the union's assertions "loud, false criticism and wage misleading attacks."

7. The protests are scheduled between Feb. 14 and March 9. The contract agreement between workers and Kaiser Permanente expires Sept. 30.



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