[May 16, 2018] OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland City Councilmembers joined a chorus of elected officials condemning plans by healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente to lay off 57 workers at its Oakland pharmacy warehouse despite the non-profit company reporting $29 billion in reserves and profits increasing 22 percent last year.
“The loss of these jobs will deprive Oakland of solid, middle class workers’ wages and benefits, thus undermining the local economy,” stated the resolution unanimously passed during the May 15 city council meeting. “The Oakland City Council urges Kaiser Permanente to protect its pharmacy warehouse employees in Oakland from being laid off, relocated to areas with lower wages or outsourced to companies that pay workers less and offer fewer benefits.”
The Oakland City Council action follows 20 elected officials from across California who sent letters over the past three months urging Kaiser to reverse its plans, including from California State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), Alameda County Supervisors Wilma Chan and Scott Haggerty, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland City Councilmembers Larry Reid and Rebecca Kaplan.
Warehouse and call center workers from across the state who are slated to be laid off or relocated are speaking out in a recent video posted on Facebook. Thousands of Kaiser Permanente employees are protesting the plans this month at 33 hospitals, including today in San Jose and Santa Rosa and tomorrow in Redwood City, Vallejo and Walnut Creek.
Kaiser Permanente recently issued an official notice to lay off 70 pharmacy warehouse workers in Downey, Calif. by Oct. 1, 2018, with plans for an additional 39 layoffs at a warehouse in Livermore and 81 at a facility in Los Angeles. It also plans to close three call centers in Los Angeles County and move 700 jobs to other areas of the state where workers will earn $2 per hour less, and 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.