OAKLAND, Calif. – Over a twenty-four-hour period, Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers and allies will hold a street theater performance to show what’s at stake if the positions of dozens of bedside caregivers are terminated. Workers will also camp out overnight at the Kaiser headquarters in Oakland, demanding the healthcare giant stop the mass layoffs across Northern California.
The demonstration will feature a makeshift hospital setting including 24 beds lined up with community members as patients and will highlight the crucial role that patient care technicians play in keeping people safe and well-cared for in their facilities. The 24 beds represent the current staffing to patient ratio for patient care technicians at Kaiser Permanente Oakland, a number that could increase if the positions of bedside care technicians are eliminated.
“As patient care technicians, we’re the front line in the hospital. We feed, bathe, and provide quality care to people who need it most,” said Brittany Turner, a patient care technician at Kaiser Oakland. “And now they’re laying off dozens of us after all we’ve been through? Not only am I concerned about how I’ll be able to provide for my family, but I’m also worried that our patients will suffer if they don’t get the care they need.”
To urge Kaiser Permanente executives to stop the layoffs, healthcare workers and allies will also spend the night camping out in front of the Oakland headquarters.
“Many of the workers losing their jobs are the breadwinners for their families, so we are willing to do whatever it takes to show Kaiser how devastating these cuts will be,” said Joann Corgile, a patient care technician at Kaiser Permanente Oakland. “I know Kaiser executives with their million-dollar salaries don’t have to worry about putting food on the table or paying rent, but my co-workers and I worry about these things every day. Shame on them for doing this to healthcare workers after all they’ve been through over the past year.”
The layoffs come after Kaiser Permanente reported a net income of $8.4 billion during the pandemic. Kaiser Permanente is registered as a non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service, meaning it does not have to pay income taxes on its earnings or property taxes on its buildings throughout the United States.
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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.