Workers Block Intersection to Demonstrate Commitment to Patients
DOWNEY, Calif. – More than 1,000 healthcare workers and their allies protested and engaged in civil disobedience today to oppose Kaiser Permanente’s plans to outsource and move jobs, despite the fact that it would harm quality patient care.
The workers marched from Independence Park to the Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center, where they held a rally and blocked the intersection of Imperial and Caring Way.
“Kaiser has been outsourcing our jobs to people who aren’t invested the way we are. I love what I do and I’m good at it,” said Jesse Felix, a 7-year Kaiser employee in Chino Hills.
The workers were joined by, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Senator Kevin de Leon (D-24), Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-53), Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-49), Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-62), Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-43), and Long Beach Councilmember Rex Richardson who threw their support behind the workers’ attempts to get Kaiser to negotiate and call off the proposed changes.
A simultaneous protest was held in Oakland, where hundreds of Kaiser Permanente employees and allies marched and protested at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, and blocked an intersection near the facility.
Kaiser Permanente, which reported $29 billion in reserves in 2017 and whose CEO is paid at least $10 million a year, is seeking deep cuts that would harm patient care. It has refused to engage in bargaining over the issue, while becoming more strident in its attitude toward workers, deepening the rift between the corporation and its employees.
The cuts include:
- Outsourcing 96 pharmacy warehouse workers in Oakland and Livermore;
- Outsourcing 43 licensed vocational nurses in San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, Santa Clara and Walnut Creek;
- Outsourcing 16 parking attendants and shuttle drivers in San Francisco;
- Shutting down a skilled nursing facility in Manteca and throwing the families of 18 workers and patients into chaos effective Oct. 31, 2018;
- Outsourcing 70 pharmacy warehouse workers in Downey;
- Outsourcing 34 couriers at a laboratory in Los Angeles; and
- Moving 742 jobs from call centers in Los Angeles County to other areas of the state where workers will earn $2 per hour less.
Several elected officials from the Bay Area have weighed in against Kaiser’s plans, including the Alameda County Board of Supervisors; Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf; the Oakland City Council; San Francisco County Supervisors Sandra Fewer, Norman Yee, Jeff Sheehy, AhshaSafai and Jane Kim; California State Senators Nancy Skinner, Scott Wiener and Jim Beall; and Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, Jim Frazier, Tony Thurmond, Philip Ting and Kansen Chu.
More than 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). They, along with 30,000 other Kaiser employees nationwide comprise the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, whose national agreement with Kaiser expires Sept. 30, 2018.