Dozens of healthcare workers from Kaiser were arrested for during a planned Labor Day demonstration outside of Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, in response to hospital understaffing.
The 25 arrests were made for failure to disperse as LAPD declared the protest an unlawful assembly at 11:20 a.m.
The protesters consisted of workers from Kaiser, Prime Healthcare and Fresenius Kidney Care, many of whom were represented by the Service Employees International Union
-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW).
“We are burnt out, stretched thin, and fed up after years of the pandemic and chronic short staffing. Healthcare providers are failing workers and patients, and we are at crisis levels in our hospitals and medical centers,” Datosha Williams, a service representative at Kaiser Permanente South Bay said in a statement. “Our employers take in billions of dollars in profits, yet they refuse to safely staff their facilities or pay many of their workers a living wage. We are prepared to do whatever it takes, even get arrested in an act of civil disobedience, to stand up for our patients.”
The contract between Kaiser Permanente workers and the hospital is expected to expire September 30 and the 85,000 workers represented by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, voted to authorize a strike if necessary.
The previous worker contract for Kaiser was set in 2019 and the unions believe working conditions have been made worse since the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Protesters at the L.A. Kaiser medical center held signs that read “Patient care is in crisis,” and performed call-and-response chants expressing their calls for full staffing.
Kaiser Permanente had responded to the union’s claims of understaffing, saying, “We hired over 29,000 new employees in 2022 and are on pace to exceed that substantially in 2023, despite the pandemic-driven labor shortage happening across health care.”
The California-based hospital was also named among the “World’s most ethical companies,” by an independent group named Ethisphere, which rated companies across 19 countries and 46 industries to come up with a list of more than 135 companies.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.