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Strike by Kaiser mental health staff enters second week

kaiser strike 2 don barrett.jpg
Don Barrett
/
Flickr / Creative Commons
Picket sign during a previous Kaiser strike

More than 2,000 therapists, psychologists, social workers and drug counselors are participating in the strike. National Union of Healthcare Workers (says they’re/ is) calling on Kaiser to hire more staff and end patients' long wait times for appointments.

The "open-ended strike" started Aug. 15 after union talks with Kaiser failed to produce a new contract. Staff and management agreed on a wage increase, but the union says Kaiser rejected a measures to increase staffing and reduce patient wait times.

The union says Kaiser patients often must wait one to two months between therapy appointments. They add the health care giant failed to boost staffing during pandemic demand surges.

Kaiser representatives did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday morning.

Last week, Kaiser officials said the strike was having an effect on patients, and disputed the union's claims about staffing needs

In the Bay Area today, clinicians started walking picket lines from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kaiser locations in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Vallejo and Walnut Creek.