LOS ANGELES – Workers from Kaiser Permanente will picket at Lakeview Medical Center, 411 N Lakeview Ave, in Anaheim, to protest the healthcare giant’s practice of outsourcing call center jobs from Southern California to other states.
“We see all these jobs going to call centers outside of California and of course we worry about the impact on patients and our livelihoods. We are the first people our patients talk to, and we played a crucial role during the pandemic when people didn’t want to visit in-person. We ensure that patients receive vital information when they need it the most,” said Oscar Gaspar, an appointment clerk at Kaiser Permanente. “Kaiser is trying to get more with less. The move to outsource good jobs to places out-of-state is bad for patients and is devastating for workers and their families.”
Healthcare workers are also concerned about the quality of patient care as patients have complained about extremely long wait times and delays in obtaining care. Earlier this year, Kaiser Permanente issued an apology for long phone wait times amid high demands for vaccine appointments.
“We worry that these outside contractors are not being held to the standard Kaiser employees are. We often hear from patients who are frustrated by the process because they’re not getting the care they need when they need it,” said Renee Hill, an appointment clerk at Kaiser Permanente. “When they get someone from out-of-state, they may not be as knowledgeable about the area or information they are looking for, so often the calls come back to us in Southern California. This means wait times are prolonged and patients struggle to get the help they need.”
Despite being a non-profit organization – which means it pays no income taxes on its earnings and extremely limited property taxes – Kaiser Permanente reported a net income of $6.4 billion in 2020.
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SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.