“I’m truly disappointed in Kaiser. After being on strike for one-week, Kaiser’s mainland representatives came to the bargaining table last night and simply insulted us. This community needs Kaiser to invest in people and workers like me, not just in new buildings and facility upgrades. We are committed to meeting with Kaiser, but we will not allow them to treat us or this community differently from our counterparts on the mainland. We are not second-class workers. Our community deserves better,” said Cindy Aban, a medical assistant at Kaiser Permanente Honolulu.
Kaiser, Hawaii’s largest Health Maintenance Organization, is also a nonprofit. Yet, in the first three quarters of 2014, Kaiser Permanente reported net profits of $3.1 billion, adding to their $30 billion in cash reserves.
Two weeks ago, nearly 1900 Local 5 Kaiser workers staged a week-long strike on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island, the first since 1986. Workers, including medical assistants, receptionists, and housekeepers, were among the strong majority of workers on strike protesting changes implemented by Kaiser that they say hurt patient care, such as closing urgent care clinics and laying off workers.