Mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities throughout California started a week-long strike on Monday. The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) is advocating for better pay and benefits for employees, who include psychologists, therapists, psychiatric nurses and social workers. Kaiser says it has added more than 500 staff and invested $175 million in mental health after being fined by state regulators in 2013 for not providing adequate mental health care to its members. But NUHW says compensation for its members lags behind that of other Kaiser employees and that the high demand for mental health services requires those workers to keep onerous hours. We'll check in on the strike, the union's demands and how they relate to patient care.
Kaiser Mental Health Workers Start Week-Long Strike
A sign at the Kaiser hospital in Richmond, California. (Photo: Durrie Douscaren/KQED)
April Dembosky, health reporter, KQED's The California Report
Dr. Ken Rogers, psychologist, Kaiser Permanante