Our work to guarantee healthcare for all has always included ensuring patients have access to the mental healthcare they need. Right now, our friends at National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) are holding the line for quality mental health services at Kaiser of Northern California where more than 2,000 mental health therapists, psychologists, and social workers are now in the second week of an open-ended strike. These workers are standing up to make Kaiser fix a mental health system so broken that many patients wait months just to start therapy.
This strike is the culmination of more than decade of activism by unionized therapists who have repeatedly blown the whistle on Kaiser for violating mental health access laws and clinical standards of care.
Right now, Kaiser isn’t just taking a hard line against its therapists; it’s breaking state law by refusing to provide care for its patients during the strike. Kaiser’s official plan for maintaining mental health services during a strike by 2,068 clinicians has been to rely on managers and 50 to 100 scabs. Consequently, thousands of appointments have been canceled and patients are enduring even longer waits than before the strike.
The future of mental health care in California is at stake. NUHW therapists are striking to make Kaiser finally meet the mental health needs of its 9.4 million members in California.
Here’s how you can help them win:
- Contribute to the NUHW Strike Fund, which disperses money to striking mental health clinicians: nuhw.org/strikefund
- Sign their Support Petition.
- Follow and share their fight on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- Join them on the picket line.
- If you’ve had a bad experience with Kaiser’s mental health services or can’t get services during the strike, share your story with their union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers. The more people who step forward, the more pressure Kaiser to stop underfunding mental health care.
- Don’t let Kaiser get away with canceling appointments or delaying care during the strike. File a complaint with California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) by phone at 1-888-466-2219 or file a complaint online.