[April 27, 2018] OAKLAND, Calif. – Amidst a growing coalition of elected officials speaking out, thousands of healthcare workers will protest across California at 33 hospitals owned by Kaiser Permanente from May 1-18 because of the corporation’s plans that would undermine patients and the people who care for them.
“Kaiser Permanente is raking in money and yet it’s acting like it has no choice but to outsource jobs, relocate workers and pay new employees less,” said Lanette Griffin, a Laboratory Assistant at Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento. “It makes no sense because Kaiser Permanente is a non-profit organization and it is supposed to be putting the community’s interests first.”
Nearly 20 elected officials from across California sent letters to the company urging it to reverse its plans, including U.S. Reps. Tony Cardenas, Grace Napolitano, Adam Schiff, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Brad Sherman. They were joined by California state legislators, county supervisors and city councilmembers.
Kaiser Permanente’s profits increased 22 percent in 2017 and it has $28 billion in reserves yet is seeking cuts that would harm patient care. It recently issued an official notice to lay off 70 pharmacy warehouse workers in Downey, Calif. with plans to do the same for an additional 175 pharmacy warehouse jobs in Oakland, Livermore and Los Angeles. It also wants to relocate 700 jobs from three call centers in Los Angeles, Baldwin Park and Woodland Hills to other areas of the state where workers will earn $2 per hour less. Finally, it wants to pay new employees in the Central Valley 20 percent less and new hires in Sacramento 10 percent less.
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 Unions, whose national agreement with Kaiser expires Sept. 30, 2018.