Dec 23, 2019
Special Episode: Curt and Katie talk about the recent NUHW- Kaiser Permanente Mental Health Worker Strike. Katie interviews a National Union of Healthcare Workers representative, Dr. Kenneth Rogers. We then both reflect on the interview and a statement from Kaiser Permanente, especially related to the implications for the profession as a whole.
It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.
We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links.
Kaiser Permanente Statement:
Statement regarding NUHW’s Planned Strike December 16-20, 2019 from:
Arlene Peasnall, Senior Vice President and Interim Chief Human Resources Officer
Despite the National Union of Healthcare Workers’ (NUHW) decision to strike, it is important our members know that our hospitals and medical offices remain open. Our commitment to patients comes first. We are working hard to deliver the high-quality care and services members and patients need. Anyone in need of urgent mental health or other care will receive the services they require. Where necessary, we will call members to reschedule some non-urgent appointments. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this unnecessary strike.
We have been jointly working with an external, neutral mediator to help us reach a collective bargaining agreement with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The mediator recently delivered a proposed compromise to both sides that we are seriously considering; however, the union has rejected it and announced plans to strike instead of working through the mediated process.
This is NUHW’s sixth noticed strike within a single year. We believe that NUHW’s repeated call for short strikes is disruptive to patient access, operational care and service and is frankly irresponsible. Although Kaiser Permanente will make every effort to minimize patient disruption, we are again forced to devote valuable resources needed elsewhere in our organization to instead address the continuity of care and our operations while these employees strike.
A strike does nothing to help our important work to advance care, nor does it help us achieve a mutually beneficial contract. All it does is put our members in the middle of bargaining, which is not fair to them, especially during the holidays when rates of depression can spike and our patients are counting on their caregivers to be there.
Rather than calling for a strike, we ask that NUHW’s leadership continue to engage with the mediator and Kaiser Permanente to resolve these issues.
Union Representative Dr. Kenneth Rogers bio:
Kenneth Rogers, Psy.D. is a psychologist who has worked with the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group for the past 16 years. He has worked at the Fremont, Santa Clara, and Campbell Medical Centers in the past and currently works at the Elk Grove clinic near South Sacramento. He has been a shop steward for NUHW since its inception in 2009 and has been on the NUHW Executive Board since 2015. Dr. Rogers was a member of the 2010-2015 contract bargaining team and he remains a member of the current bargaining committee since July, 2018.
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Curt Widhalm is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is a Board Member at Large for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Adjunct Faculty at Pepperdine University, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making "dad jokes" and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at: www.curtwidhalm.com
Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant. As a helping professional for two decades, she’s navigated the ups and downs of our unique line of work. She’s run her own solo therapy practice, designed innovative clinical programs, built and managed large, thriving teams of service providers, and consulted hundreds of helping professionals on how to build meaningful AND sustainable practices. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt's youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: www.katievernoy.com
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