Kaiser union workers walk out in protest of working conditions

Published On: Apr 04 2013 04:35:00 PM HST

About 100 Kaiser Permanente employees skipped work on Thursday to protest what they call unfair working conditions.

Despite the number of workers out, Kaiser Permanente says the clinics and the hospital were open and operating as usual.

Stalemate contract negotiations led to this protest.

"It's really sad we're not giving the time and dedication to our patients -- our patients deserve in Hawaii," said Kaiser Permanente Medical Assistant Cindy Aban.

The Local 5 union represents 1,900 Kaiser Permanente Employees.  The union says the health care staff is overworked and overstretched after Kaiser closed the Urgent Care portion of the Pensacola Street clinic in March and eliminated 11 administrative positions.

The medical workers also say the closure of the urgent care facility has negatively affected patient care.

"I've seen a lot of long lines on the floors and also been hearing from the front line there's a lot of patients coming up with urgent care needs," said receptionist Gloria Allen.

However, a Kaiser Permanente spokesperson says, since the closure, they're only seen 3 to 6 patients a day needing urgent care services.

Kaiser says those patients are now seen by other physicians at the clinic.

Kaiser Permanente released the following statement:

"Kaiser Permanente has been making changes to our care delivery model to improve patient care and service. In addition to these changes we are in the process of renovating and expanding our Koolau Clinic in Kaneohe and building a new clinic in Pearlridge."

Local 5 workers were called out in Kaiser clinics across Oahu.  The spokesperson for Kaiser says they filled the call outs and emphasizes the work stoppage did not affect patient care.

Kaiser says they are in good faith negotiations with Local 5 on a new labor agreement.

Kaiser also says 10 of the 11 people whose positions were eliminated found other jobs within the company.


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