DOWNEY (CBSLA.com) — A proposed strike by 1,400 pharmacists could shut down Kaiser Permanente pharmacies in Southern California on Monday.
Kaiser member Thomas Berge said he got a recorded message about the possible work stoppage and then noticed long lines at a medical center on Tuesday.
“This really shocked me when I found out that they might not have my prescriptions available,” he said. “I had to wait almost 45 minutes to pick up my prescription.”
“We don’t want to picket, our patients come first to us, but Kaiser has left us no choice,” Robin Borden, the president of the Guild for Professional Pharmacists, said.
The guild is in day 20 of negotiations, and they hope Kaiser will meet their demands before next week.
“We are being pushed to process prescriptions like robots and try to push them through and reduce the wait time instead of checking medication profiles,” Borden said.
CBS2’s Rachel Kim reported that the pharmacists want to get their pensions back after losing them three years ago at the bargaining table.
In addition, they want health benefit guarantees for part-time employees.
“We felt like we were misled. And we just want to be on par with all the other employees and be treated the same,” Borden said.
In a statement, Kaiser Permanente said, “Our first priority is always the safety and care of our members and patients. With a good faith involvement of all concerned, we’re optimistic that we will continue to make progress toward a contract agreement.”
Kaiser said if the strike happens, it has made arrangements with outside pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.