Healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities across the state will protest Kaiser’s plan to replace workers who have good environmental services (EVS) housekeeping jobs with robots, a move that would undercut families and put at risk critical infection controls during the pandemic.
The protests will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 at the Kaiser facilities listed below, after Kaiser recently launched a “pilot program” to use robot vacuums to clean the hospital’s floors at Kaiser Woodland Hills Medical Center in Southern California. See facilities below where the protests are taking place.
Kaiser workers say they are concerned that the robots will become permanent and expand to other Kaiser facilities, eliminating good jobs with benefits. Kaiser executives, more than three dozen of whom make over $1 million a year, have consistently claimed that EVS workers making $44,000 a year are overpaid, even as the hospital raked in $4.5 billion in profits in the second quarter of this year.
“Kaiser is already not filling vacant positions and we have been working understaffed for a long time,” said Brenda Martina Castaneda, an EVS worker at Kaiser Woodland Hills. “We see these robot vacuums and of course we worry about our jobs and our families.”
Healthcare workers are also concerned about patient safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. EVS workers have become critical to our nation’s response during this time.
“Robots cannot ensure a sterile environment the way trained EVS professionals can,” said Juan Juregui, also an EVS worker at Kaiser Woodland Hills. “In the age of COVID-19, Kaiser’s robot experiment is reckless and needs to be stopped immediately.”
Protests will take place at the following locations:
Kaiser Panorama City Medical Center
Kaiser LAMC Hospital
Kaiser Permanente Orange County-Anaheim Medical Center
Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center
Kaiser South Bay – Kaiser Permanente Carson Medical Offices
Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center
Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center
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SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the United States, with 97,000 members. Learn more at www.seiu-hw.org.