Kaiser Permanente mental health professionals protested and picketed on Tuesday in Oakland and Los Angeles to demand the health care giant provide adequate resources to its mental health division, according to union officials.

Kaiser employees represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers began the picket at the organization’s Oakland Medical Center at 3600 Broadway at 6 a.m., union officials said. Hundreds of Kaiser workers were expected to be bused to Oakland, per the union.

They one-mile march began around 10 a.m. to Kaiser’s corporate headquarters at One Kaiser Plaza downtown for a rally.

Kaiser Strike
California Nurses Association/Flickr Kaiser Permanente mental health professionals take to the streets in Oakland, Calif. and Los Angeles, Calif. Tuesday, December 17, 2019 in the second day of a five-day strike demanding better resources for patients and workers. (California Nurses Association/Flickr)

It’s the second day of a five-day strike planned at Kaiser mental health clinics across California.

Mickey Fitzpatrick, a Kaiser psychologist in Pleasanton said:

“Kaiser wants people to believe it’s finally achieving parity for mental health care when in reality patients are still waiting far too long for appointments and we are struggling with caseloads that would never be acceptable anywhere outside of Kaiser.” 

The union says:

“(C)linics remain severely understaffed, patients are routinely forced to wait six-to-eight weeks for therapy appointments and clinicians are so overbooked that they have to work after hours trying to help patients who can’t wait for care.”

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