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‘Stressed out’ Kaiser healthcare workers say they’re pushed to the brink and need relief

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 9:12 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui healthcare workers who are in the middle of negotiations with Kaiser Permanente claim they are overworked and underpaid.

After a year and a half into the pandemic, employees said they are burnt out and many of them say they can’t take it anymore.

Dozens of healthcare workers demonstrated outside of Kaiser Permanente in Wailuku, calling on the healthcare provider to hire more workers and for an increase in pay.

This comes as the contract between their union and Kaiser Permanente is set to expire next week.

Union members said after months of negotiations, Kaiser has ignored major staffing issues.

Kaiser has proposed to pay all new hires lower wages and to pay current workers a 1% annual raise for the next three years. The union, on the other hand, is asking for a 4% wage increase across the board.

Workers who have been there for decades said they are exhausted and feel unappreciated.

“I try not to cry,” said Diana Mei Ibera, a licensed practical nurse at the Kaiser Wailuku Clinic. “After work I’m very stressed out, and I just stay in my car and take a breather and tell myself I’m here for the patients. I also have family to take care of, and I need to go home with a smile.”

Some are even considering leaving their jobs.

“There are times where I feel like I’m ready to leave. I’m ready to do something else. It’s come to that point, that maybe nursing is not the thing for me anymore,” said Frederick Dagdag, a licensed practical nurse at the Kaiser Maui Lani Clinic.

In a statement, Kaiser said continued discussion at the bargaining table is the best way to resolve issues and differences. The company added that it is committed to providing market leading pay and benefits.

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