Kaiser Permanente employees rally for ‘a voice'

Joyce Griffin
Joyce Griffin
Margaret Sato
Margaret Sato
Maile Sale
Maile Sale

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)  -  Hundreds gather at a busy Honolulu intersection to make their message heard.  Local 5 members of Kaiser Permanente Hospital say their contract has been expired for months, and hospital administration is dragging their heels.

Members say the main issues include job security and having a voice at work.  They say in this uncertain economic climate, it's important to have a contract.

A rally to rally support for Kaiser Permamente employees.  Several hundred gathered at King and Pensacola to make their voices heard.

"We want to secure our jobs so we can help secure the economy here in Hawaii," said Joyce Griffin, an insurance billing clerk at Kaiser Permanente.

These members of Local 5 say contract talks with Kaiser management have stalled.  It affects 1,800 workers statewide.

"We've been in seven sessions of negotiations and there's just been no movement," said Griffin.

They want job security and a "voice" in the workplace.

"We just want the front line to have a say in the process of decision making and everything because we are the ones who talk to the consumers, the customers," said Margaret Sato, a medical assistant at Kaiser Permanente.

In a statement, Suzann Filleul, Kaiser Permanente's Region Nurse Executive, said, "We are bargaining in good faith and are hopeful we will reach a fair and equitable agreement.  We are fortunate that despite the economic climate, we have been able to provide modest adjustments to wages and benefits for all of our employees."

While their jobs are secure right now, and there are no talks of layoffs, these protestors are mad.

"Basically we don't have a voice right now and we want that voice," said Maile Sale, another employee at Kaiser.  "We just want to make this a better place to work, a better place to get care for our patients and the community."

And the community is who they want to serve.

"We want to make Kaiser the best that it can be, so we want to take Kaiser to a higher level," said Sato.

Rallying for a better contract, for better patient care.

Local 5 members are planning a similar rally Thursday in Wailuku, Maui, starting at 5 pm.