About 200 local Kaiser employees walk off job over labor dispute - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

About 200 local Kaiser employees walk off job over labor dispute

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - About 200 San Diego-area employees of Kaiser Permanente walked off the job Wednesday, but a spokeswoman for the health care company said the effect was minimal.

Social workers, psychologists, speech pathologists, audiologists, health educators and dieticians participated in the planned, one-day strike at local Kaiser health care centers and across Southern California, Leighton Woodhouse of the National Union of Healthcare Workers said.

Some striking employees traveled to Los Angeles for a rally, which attracted about 2,000 workers, Woodhouse said. He said the union and Kaiser disagree over staffing levels and proposed cuts to healthcare coverage and retirement benefits.

Negotiations will resume on Friday and, depending on the progress, union leaders may call for another job action, he said.

Three NUHW bargaining units are negotiating contracts with Kaiser, said Mina Nguyen of the health care company. All Kaiser's San Diego County hospitals and clinics operated normally Wednesday, she said, but some patients with non-emergency appointments to see social workers and psychologists were rescheduled.

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