Kaiser Permanente pharmacists gear up for possible week-long strike on Monday

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Kaiser pharmacists gear up for possible strike on Monday
Pharmacists in the Bay Area say they're ready to go on strike if a deal isn't reached with Kaiser Permanente.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- With the clock running down before a 3 a.m. deadline on Monday, pharmacists in the Bay Area say they're ready to go on strike if a deal isn't reached with Kaiser Permanente.

"We just want a fair contract," said John Lee.

Lee is the president of the Guild for Professional Pharmacists- the labor group leading the negotiations.

He says that while Kaiser has said active talks have been taking place, before Saturday night, he hasn't heard from them in weeks.

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"Negotiations and bargaining with the guild which is a bold face lie. That didn't happen," Lee said.

The potential strike could impact patients all over the Bay Area.

At the Kaiser pharmacy in Oakland, Kevin Lee says he waited in line for hours to get his prescription filled.

"I got here about 2:30 p.m. today, and maybe a couple of hours now. And it was a nightmare," he said.

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Bay Area Kaiser nurses are protesting a program called Medically Home, which provides care for a patient in their home rather than in the hospital.

Kevin tells ABC7 News that while the staff on hand was working as fast as they could, they simply couldn't keep up with the demand.

Many Kaiser members are getting the prescriptions they need for the next week now, in case the strike happens.

"Everybody's frustrated, you know, and I don't blame them. And what kind of bothered me most of all is you have elderly people in line," he said.

The Guild for Professional Pharmacists say their patients are their top priority.

They say many of their members will work without pay throughout the strike in order to help meet their needs.

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"We have always cared for the patients. Really do everything we can for the patients," said John Lee.

The Guild says the next round of talks is set to take place on Sunday afternoon.

"They're calling me to the table tomorrow, to negotiate with the employer at 1 p.m. tomorrow," said John Lee.

But in case things don't get resolved, Kaiser says it has contingency plans in place and that it's mail delivery pharmacy will still be available.