Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Health-care workers picketed Kaiser Permanente's Zion Avenue hospital in San Diego yesterday. It is part of a two day walkout aimed at restarting contract talks.
SAN DIEGO Red shirts and picket signs greeted San Diego drivers on Zion Avenue. About 200 National Union of Healthcare Workers walked off the job Wednesday to bring attention to their stalled contract talks. Union workers want to protect their health care and pensions, and they want to make sure there are enough people to do the work. Mark Winterman, who works with Kaiser patients struggling with addiction, said the health-care provider is addicted to money.
"It's a not-for-profit organization, but they're making profits and they're turning them back into salaries and into buildings and not to the service providers who are giving the patients what they need," said Winterman.
Kaiser officials said the hospital remains open and patient care shouldn't be compromised.
Joining us on Midday Edition today, Mary Ann Barnes, Senior Vice President and Executive Director at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego and Jim Clifford, therapist at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego.
"We want to be a great place for people to work," said Mary Ann Barnes, senior vice-president at Kaiser Permanente. "We know we have to be very competitive on salary and benefits. And we put a proposal together and we would like to have some discussions around that proposal so that we can end this dispute."
The strikers will be welcomed back when there strike ends on Friday, said Barnes. Union workers held a one day strike in May, but that did little to resolve the dispute.