Including Antioch, Walnut Creek Kaiser workers; to continue Friday with different unions
Engineers on strike for 62 days, so far
By Renée Saldaña, Press Secretary, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West
Thousands of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) members have been joined by OPEIU Local 29, IFPTE Local 20 in a sympathy strike to demand that Kaiser stop its economic bullying and agree to a fair contract with the Local 39 Operating Engineers. Workers walked off the job and onto the strike line at 7 a.m., today, Thursday, November 18 until 7:00 a.m. Friday, Nov. 19 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers in Antioch, Walnut Creek and at various facilities across Northern California.
More than 40,000 workers from SEIU-UHW, OPEIU Local 29, and IFPTE Local 20 were prepared to walk out in support of the Local 39 engineers, making it the largest sympathy strike in the country.
“They’ve been out here all this time without a fair contract” said lifelong Antioch resident Kim Weiss, AMC Rep Chair or SEIU at Kaiser Antioch about the engineers. She works with cardiac and diabetes patients at the medical center. “We’re sympathy striking in solidarity. A total of 620 SEIU workers have been on strike at Antioch Kaiser, today.”
Healthcare workers wearing their uniforms planned to walk out onto the strike line, march, give speeches, distribute leaflets to passersby, hold signs and blow whistles in support of Kaiser engineers from Local 39.
“We are sympathy striking because Kaiser has lost its way and is putting its drive for profits over people, hurting our patients and union co-workers. The Local 39 engineers play a critical role in maintaining our facilities and the equipment we use to take care of patients,” said Ethan Ruskin, a health educator at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Jose. “Kaiser needs to put patients first and deliver a fair contract to the engineers.”
Earlier this week, healthcare workers representing SEIU-UHW’s 36,000 Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California voted by a 97% margin to authorize a one-day sympathy strike in solidarity with Kaiser engineers from Local 39 who have been on strike for two months.
Jobs affected by the sympathy strike vote include optometrists, clinical laboratory scientists, respiratory and x-ray technicians, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, surgical technicians, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, medical assistants, and housekeepers, among other positions.
Engineers on Strike for 62 Days So Far
According to those on strike in Antioch, 800 engineers in Northern California including 13 stationary engineers and six or seven clinical engineers at the Antioch Kaiser have been on strike for 62 days, as of Thursday.
They fix all the piping and all the medical equipment, from the life support systems to anything else mechanical.
Asked about the large, inflatable rat on display at the Antioch Kaiser strike, one of the union members said it referred to the Kaiser management and the “scab” workers doing their jobs while they’re on strike.
“They’ve brought in guys from out of state who have no training and paying them three times what they pay us,” the striker said.
“Think of the risk at which they’re placing the patients with the equipment that’s not being maintained for over two months,” said Mark Morucci, Chief Engineer at Kaiser Antioch.
Sympathy strikes are taking place at the following locations starting at 7 a.m. on November 18:
- ANTIOCH: Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center, 4501 Sand Creek Rd, Antioch CA 94531
- WALNUT CREEK: Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center, 1425 S Main St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596
- FREMONT: Kaiser Permanente Fremont Medical Center, 39400 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont, CA 94538
- FRESNO: Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center, 7300 N Fresno St, Fresno, CA 93720
- MANTECA: Kaiser Permanente Manteca Medical Center, 1777 W. Yosemite Avenue, Manteca, 95337
- MODESTO: Kaiser Permanente Modesto Medical Center, 4601 Dale Road, Modesto, CA 95356
- OAKLAND: Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, 3600 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611
- REDWOOD CITY: Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Medical Center, 1150 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, CA 94063
- RICHMOND: Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center, 901 Nevin Ave., Richmond, CA 94801
- ROSEVILLE: Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center, 1600 Eureka Rd, Roseville, CA 95661
- SACRAMENTO: Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center, 2025 Morse Ave, Sacramento, 95825
- SOUTH SACRAMENTO: Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, 6600 Bruceville Road, Sacramento, CA 95823
- SAN FRANCISCO: Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center, 2425 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA
- SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO: Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center, 1200 El Camino Real, S. San Francisco, CA 94080
- SAN JOSE: Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center, 250 Hospital Parkway, San Jose, CA 95119
- SAN LEANDRO: Kaiser Permanente San Leandro Medical Center, 2500 Merced St, San Leandro, CA 94577
- SANTA CLARA: Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center, 710 Lawrence Expressway, Santa Clara CA 95051
- SANTA ROSA: Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa, 95403
- STOCKTON: Kaiser Permanente Stockton Medical Center, 7373 West Lane, Stockton CA 95210
- VACAVILLE: Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center, 1 Quality Dr, Vacaville, CA 95688
- VALLEJO: Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center, 975 Sereno Drive, Vallejo, CA 94589
Another sympathy strike will take place on Friday by the NUHW and the California Nurses Association.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.