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13 arrested at Kaiser Permanente protest in Downey

BY BRIAN HEWS

13 people were arrested this morning protesting at Kaiser Permanente in Downey marring what was an otherwise peaceful protest.

The protest  by the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Workers was due to a labor dispute with Kaiser Permanente.

The protest started at Independence Park  and proceeded to the hospital on Imperial Highway.

Downey police was deployed along the route and near the hospital for safety reasons.

The 13 people were arrested for not dispersing after being ordered to do so by the police.

In a statement,  John Nelson, Vice President of Communications, Kaiser Permanente said, “It’s important for our members and patients to know that this informational picketing is not a strike and it does not impact our care delivery or operations. While this union is staging picketing, the physicians and employees of Kaiser Permanente will remain focused on the important work of delivering high-quality, affordable care to our members and improving the health of the communities we serve.”

“The truth is Kaiser Permanente is growing and adding jobs. As one of the largest private employers in California with more than 149,000 employees and 16,000 physicians, we have added more than 13,000 jobs in the state since 2015. We have more than 12,000 open staff positions and will continue to add many kinds of jobs, including blue collar jobs. The number of our employees represented by SEIU-UHW has grown by more than 8,000 over the same period.”

“We are disappointed that the current leadership of SEIU-UHW has chosen to mischaracterize Kaiser Permanente’s strong commitment to labor and to pursue an adversarial, destructive approach to its relationships with several California health care systems. In fact, SEIU-UHW’s approach stands in stark contrast to the productive, progressive relationships we have maintained with many other unions representing our employees.”

Claims about call center changes

“The union’s claims that we have announced hundreds of layoffs or relocations at our call centers is simply not true. We have talked with the union about ways to significantly improve our appointment call center operations in Southern California, and to do so thoughtfully and over time to minimize the chance that any current employee would be forced to lose their job.”

Claims about pharmacy operations

“We’ve been working with SEIU-UHW for more than a year to transition our internal pharmacy warehouse operations to an existing, proven service provided by UPS Supply Chain Solutions. This change, which may affect up to 200 jobs across the state, is needed to address the many regulatory, technical and efficiency challenges we face now and in the future. What’s important is that we never make decisions like this lightly. We don’t know of any other employer who offers more generous support to employees who are affected by job changes: We try to retrain and reassign our people first, and if that isn’t feasible, we provide them up to one year of salary and benefits.”

 

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