Local 5 to Strike at Kaiser Maui Lani and Wailuku Clinics
By Wendy Osher
(video uploaded: Thursday, January 28, 2010)
Kaiser workers represented by UNITE HERE Local 5 will go on a limited duration strike on Thursday, January 28, 2010 at two Maui clinics, in an effort to fight for job security. Local 5 Spokesperson, Cade Watanabe said the walkout is part of a general campaign to secure good jobs locally for local people.
“It’s part of our larger effort to secure a new contract for about 1,800 health care workers that we represent on Maui, Oahu and the Big Island that work for Kaiser,” said Watanabe.
Kaiser’s efforts at maintaining flexibility, Watanabe said, is interpreted by the union as, “being able to essentially subcontract our work, which is a huge concern to our membership.”
The union represents the majority of blue collar service workers at Kaiser including medical assistants, some CNAs, cashiers, receptionists, housekeepers, maintenance workers, engineers, clerical workers, accountants and billing staff. Local 5 has represented workers at Kaiser since the facility got its start in Hawaii in 1958-59.
Patients will still be able to access services, as Kaiser itself will remain open. Local 5 members will be breaking lines so that patients can see their doctors, but union officials say delays are possible with many on the service side reporting to the picket line instead of work.
Thursday’s strike will take place at both the Maui Lani and Wailuku Clinics on Maui. The day will begin with picket-lines being set up from 6 a.m. The picket will continue into the afternoon with a mini-rally to run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
“We understand that their health care needs need to be met, but we also feel very strongly that we need to send Kaiser a very strong message that we are serious about securing good local jobs here in Hawaii, especially given our economic times,” said Watanabe.
(Placeholder images courtesy: Unite Here Local 5)