Kaiser strike looming, mental health therapists say more staffing is needed

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kaiser Permanente Therapists are inching closer to a statewide strike.

Kaiser and the National Health Workers Union are bargaining for a new agreement.

According to union rep Susan Whitney, Mental Health Therapists want to see changes to their workloads because of the impact it is having on patients.

Whitney says people need to have follow-up appointments in two weeks or less, but because of increased workload, they’re waiting much longer.

“We are not able to adequately have staff that are able to do the work while Kaiser continues to take on new members,” said the NHWU representative.

In a statement, Kaiser says it was already addressing those concerns when the union made financial demands.

According to Whitney, they only want the same pay raises other employees have already received.

If a deal isn’t reached, 4,000 therapists will hit the picket lines on Tuesday.

And, up to 40 local therapists plan to picket if the strike continues for a second week at the Kaiser on Ming Avenue.

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