Kaiser Permanente Local 5 union workers begin 6-day strike

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Kaiser Permanente Local 5 workers on three islands are walking the picket lines as part of a six-day strike.

The 1,900 workers include Kaiser receptionists, medical assistants and certified nurses aides.

Union members marched in front of open facilities all day long, protesting the largest healthcare organization in the state.

They’re fighting for a two-percent wage increase every year for three years, pension for new hires and back-pay from when their contract expired nearly three years ago.

“We’re basically asking Kaiser to do what’s fair. Our patients are of utmost importance,” said union member Maile Duarte-Rego.

Because of the strike, 10 clinics are closed. Kaiser has been contacting patients to reschedule appointments or see their doctor at another location.

  • Click here for a complete list of open and closed facilities.

Some patients at the Honolulu clinic, which remained open, reported busier-than-normal activity with long lines and, for some, long wait times.

“(It was) crowded. I had to wait and wait,” said patient Ruth Stewart, who said she waited for more than an hour and a half.

Not everyone was aware of the strike. At the Hawaii Kai clinic, KHON2 spotted patients still trying to go inside. They were met by workers who told them what to do.

According to Kaiser, more than 100 patients showed up at clinics that were closed Monday.

Kaiser has moved some of its workers to other locations during the strike and brought in some workers from California to help.

“We are open. We are staffed. We are going to deliver that quality care that we always have. It’s unfortunate that Local 5 has chosen to picket during the heavy flu season,” said Kaiser chief nurse executive Linda Puu.

“It wouldn’t matter what time of the year we picked to go on strike, you’ll still get those negative feedback,” Duarte-Rego said.

Right now, no new talks are scheduled. The strike is expected to continue through Saturday.

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