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Thousands Of NorCal Health Care Workers On One-Day Strike

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Whether it’s chants or car horns honking in support, disgruntled health care professionals in Sacramento and across the state were intent on getting their employers’ attention today.

“Kaiser, Kaiser you can’t hide. We can see your greedy side.”

That was one of the chants of strikers outside Kaiser Permanente’s north campus in Sacramento on Thursday.

Thousands of nurses working at Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health facilities across the state joined the picket lines in a show of solidarity with some 4,000 members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents mental health professionals, therapists and optical workers who are striking to protest proposed cuts by Kaiser to benefits.

“I would say to Kaiser to lead by example,” said Kelli Coleman of the California Nurses Association, the mega union that represents Kaiser nurses. “You don’t cut from the bottom and the people that work the hardest at the hospitals.”

Workers are upset that Kaiser and Sutter Health are proposing these cuts while they continue to make huge profits.

“This is while Kaiser has made $5.7 billion in profits, the CEO makes millions and has eight pensions,” said John Barsos of the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

A spokeswoman insists Kaiser is negotiating in good faith but offered no further details on progress. “Out of respect for the negotiations process we won’t comment on the negotiations process,” said Kaiser Senior Vice President Patricia Rodriguez.

Meanwhile the health care giant had to call in back up to cover the missed shifts, but all elective surgeries were canceled Thursday.

“We have a team of highly qualified people,” Rodriguez said. “We’re ready to care for our patients today.”

But at least patient said he noticed the difference.

“They have people standing in the halls you know to help you with a lot of things, but it seems they don’t really know what they’re doing,” he said.

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