Kaiser workers protest job cuts hold march, rally in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- More than 1,000 Kaiser workers and supporters marched in Oakland Monday to protest planned job cuts at the health care giant.

The demonstrators marched down West MacArthur Blvd, angry that the hospital may outsource their jobs.

"These are jobs that are not being eliminated for technology. These are jobs being eliminated solely for profit," said Terri Ridgeway-Olmos, longtime Kaiser Admitting Representative.

SEIU, the service employees union, says those most vulnerable are warehouse workers, drivers, vocational nurses and hospital call center operators.

Harvey Pulliam, who works as a warehouse man, believes his job is on the line.

"I'm really pissed about it because I've given them my hard work and a lot of time," Pulliam said.

The march ended with a rally at the Kaiser Medical Center.

The demonstrators then returned to the intersection of McArthur Boulevard and Broadway.

Police had already blocked off traffic into the area. Protest leaders told them in advance they would commit civil disobedience.

Twenty-three demonstrators sat in a circle in the middle of the intersection.

Stephanie Pahwa was among them. "You're willing to be arrested for your beliefs?" we asked. "Yes I am," she said.

After a while, a pre-recorded warning blurted out from a patrol car.

"If you do not leave the intersection, You will be cited and you may be arrested," police warned.

But, the protestors stood their ground.

One by one police removed them from the intersection.

There was no resistance.

The protestors who staged the sit-in were processed but not cited nor arrested.

Kaiser issued a written response, saying in part, "Kaiser Permanente is growing and adding jobs."

The Hospital said, it was disappointed that the Union "has chosen to mischaracterize Kaiser Permanente's strong commitment to labor."

The Kaiser workers and their union are charging that the hospital wants to outsource more than 1,000 jobs in California.
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