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photo credit: Courtesy of KRCB/Noah Abrams
Kaiser Mental Health Care workers rallied at the Santa Rosa Kaiser facility on Bicentennial Drive in Santa Rosa Friday afternoon as their strike entered its 33rd day.
With a breakdown at the bargaining table, Kaiser workers were picketing in Santa Rosa, saying overcrowding and under-staffing by Kaiser is hurting patients seeking mental health services.
 
Sal Rosselli, President of the National Union of Healthcare Workers - the union representing mental health clinicians at Kaiser, said the fight in Santa Rosa is part of a larger struggle.
 
"You know, the, the folks that are striking are so selfless, right?" Rosselli said. "It's not about economics. It's not about their salary or benefits. It's all about standing up for their patients, access to care. I feel very optimistic that the strength of these clinicians, right, is going to win. It's changing people's lives, right? People are becoming radicalized, right? To make mental healthcare a civil rights issue."
 
Natalie Rodgers, a therapist in Santa Rosa’s emergency department, reiterated the union demands that Kaiser reduce workloads on mental health workers. She said it’s about providing the best care possible to patients.
 
"I know that we're out here for a good reason." Rodgers said. "It's it's not money. It's all about patient care. It's all about Kaiser stepping up to the plate and being able to provide the care that they say they already provide. We're out here for our own families. We're out here for our neighbors. We're out here for the people that are teaching our children."
 
In a labor relations update Kaiser said more than 50% of mental health clinicians have continued seeing patients regularly, and says it has offered to increase indirect patient care time, from the current 15% of mental health clinician workload to 18%, a move it says would reduce face-to-face work by several hours per week.
 
Chants of, "One day longer! One day stronger!" were echoed by the various speakers.
 
Striking workers pledged to continue offering financial assistance to their co-workers in need and asked for public support to the group’s Gofundme as the strike entered into its second month.
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