https://www.unitehere5.org/wp-content/uploads/2021.04.17-Kaiser-protest.jpg 1365 2048 Bryant de Venecia /wp-content/uploads/local5-1.jpg Bryant de Venecia2021-04-17 19:00:422021-04-20 14:20:02Kaiser Permanente workers protest outsourcing of local jobs to California
Press Release for April 17, 2021
Bryant de Venecia
Kaiser Permanente workers protest outsourcing of local jobs to California
Dozens of health care workers protest after company announced that up to 57 positions from its Patient Financial Services department will be outsourced
(Honolulu, HI) – UNITE HERE Local 5 members are doing sign-waving and leafleting to protest the planned job cuts announced by Kaiser Permanente. The company announced that 42 to 57 positions from its Patient Financial Services department will be outsourced to California.
This comes as another threat to Hawaii essential health care workers. In October 2020, Kaiser announced closure of Gastroenterology and Ambulatory Services departments on Maui, which proposed to eliminate 27 jobs. Through several statewide actions, community town halls, and petitions, Kaiser workers successfully thwarted the threat of job cuts and loss of important healthcare services on Maui.
Christine Webster, a Patient Financial Representative for 34 years shared, “I have worked for Kaiser Hawaii for 24 years and my goal is to retire with my medical in a few years. Now with Kaiser eliminating all jobs in my department, that goal will be unattainable. We need to protect these jobs and keep them in Hawaii. The people working in Patient Financial Services deal directly with local people. We know and care about our Hawaii community; we built these relationships with patients over the years. These jobs need to stay here.”
Emi Mataele, another Patient Financial Representative added, “This is another blow to our community. We had one of the highest rates of unemployment. We have sacrifice so much through this pandemic. It is disheartening that health care workers like us are about to lose our jobs in the middle of a pandemic.”
The Union refutes Kaiser Permanente’s claim that financial challenges are the reason why it announced the job cuts. Kaiser turned down $500 million federal CARES Act money in 2020; subsidy that would have helped Hawaii’s struggling economy. The organization also boasted record-breaking profit in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. UNITE HERE Local 5 believes that outsourcing Hawaii’s health care jobs are an unwarranted attack on Hawaii’s workforce.
The collective bargaining agreement between Kaiser Permanente and UNITE HERE Local 5 is set to expire on September 30, 2021. The Union fully intends to secure stronger job security provisions in the next contract to protect health care jobs in Hawai’i.
Local 5 represents approximately 12,000 workers throughout Hawaii who work in the hospitality, health care and food service industries and is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, an international union that represents over 300,000 workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitehere5.org.
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