Kaiser mental health strike averted

A tentative union agreement reached between mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente and company officials has averted a strike set for Monday, union officials said tonight.

The tentative three-year agreement will allow mental health workers to advocate for their patients and meet their patient’s treatment needs without fear of discharge or discipline, according to union officials.

The agreement also means the ratio of new patients to returning patients will be one to four, union officials said. Kaiser officials have also agreed to rescind the proposed cuts to workers pension benefits, according to union officials.

Members will vote on the agreement in the coming weeks, union officials said.

Mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente are represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, union officials said.

President of the union’s Northern California chapter of Kaiser mental health clinicians Clement Papazian said in a statement the agreement is a positive first step:

“Kaiser has opened the door to a positive working relationship with us with the goal of providing timely, quality care to our patients by hiring hundreds more mental health professionals.”