Kaiser mental health workers hit picket lines in major California cities over pay and personnel issues

SACRAMENTO — More than 2,000 Kaiser Permanente mental health workers in Northern California are expected to walk off the job and hit the picket lines Monday morning.

The strike began at 6 a.m. in several major cities, including San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno and Sacramento.

The union representing striking psychologists, therapists, counselors and social workers says they have been working without a contract since September. The problem is pay, representatives say, and the need for more staff and time to do administrative work for their patients.

“New state laws that have gone into effect say that we can see our patients within two weeks and we no longer have enough clinicians to do that,” said Kathy Ray, a clinical social worker. certified and a union. member. “The pace and workload within Kaiser has become too heavy and our patients are not receiving adequate care.”

In a statement, Kaiser says he has offered nearly seven and a half hours a week for administrative tasks such as documentation, scheduling and other office activities, but the union requires nine hours.

Kaiser also calls Monday’s strike a “damaging” bargaining tactic, but notes he has plans in place to address the mental health needs of patients.

Bernard P. Love