Kaiser Permanente workers in Calif. go on strike

January 31, 2012 - 8:15 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities throughout California have gone on strike over contract disputes involving Kaiser's mental health and optical employees.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers says its 4,000 Kaiser employees are staging a 24-hour strike Tuesday over proposed cuts to health care and retirement benefits. The union represents Kaiser mental health and optical employees.

It's their fourth walkout since contract negotiations started in 2010. Kaiser officials say the union hasn't responded to their wage and benefit proposals.

The California Nurses Association said nurses would stage a strike in solidarity. Kaiser says about two-thirds of its nurses showed up for work as scheduled.

Kaiser hospitals and medical offices remained open during the strike, though some appointments and elective procedures were rescheduled.