Honolulu, HI Western Territory Grand Lodge Special Representative Byron Williams, along with leaders from IAM Local Lodge 1998, were on hand to support striking mental health care providers demanding justice and a fair contract from Kaiser on Maui, Oahu, and Hawaii Island.
The unit of about 50 mental health care professionals, represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) and comprised of psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses and addiction counselors, held a three-day strike to protest wage freezes, retirement cuts, and health benefit cuts proposed by Kaiser in their recent negotiations.
“As the pandemic rolls on, there is a surging need for greater access to mental health care in our country,” said Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “To propose cuts and wage freezes to mental health caregivers, at a time when there is such a need, is shameful and disgraceful. I stand in solidarity with our NUHW Sisters and Brothers in their fight for a fair contract.”
The striking workers are also pressing Kaiser to combat the shortage of mental health workers in Hawaii, overwhelming caseloads, and continually underfunding mental healthcare.