LOS ANGELES, CA — Thousands of health professionals at Kaiser plan have hit the picket line.
The union representing four thousand psychologists, therapists, psychiatric nurses and other healthcare employees are prepared to strike for five days.
Union officials say the walkout could result in the shutdown of more than 100 Kaiser clinics and medical facilities from San Diego to Sacramento.
"We're striking because the problems that plague Kaiser's mental health system keep getting worse," said Kenneth Rogers, a Kaiser psychologist, in a statement.
The union accuses Kaiser of forcing clinicians to accept significantly poorer retirement and health benefits than Kaiser provides to more than 120,000 other employees in California.
“Both sides have tentatively agreed to commence a collaborative process to reinvent Kaiser’s mental health system. But given Kaiser’s failure to follow through on previous collaborative efforts, clinicians want safeguards for improved patient care to be written into the contract,” the union said in a statement.