OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Kaiser Permanente mental health professionals will protest and picket on Tuesday in Oakland and Los Angeles to demand the health care giant provide adequate resources to its mental health division, according to union officials.

Kaiser employees represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers began picketing at the organization’s Oakland Medical Center at 3600 Broadway starting at 6 a.m., union officials said. Hundreds of Kaiser workers are expected to be bused to Oakland, per the union.

They will then march around one mile at 10 a.m. to Kaiser’s corporate headquarters at One Kaiser Plaza downtown for a rally.

It’s the second day of a five-day strike planned at Kaiser mental health clinics across California.

“Kaiser wants people to believe it’s finally achieving parity for mental health care when in reality patients are still waiting far too long for appointments and we are struggling with caseloads that would never be acceptable anywhere outside of Kaiser,” said Mickey Fitzpatrick a Kaiser psychologist in Pleasanton.

The union says clinics “remain severely understaffed, patients are routinely forced to wait six-to-eight weeks for therapy appointments and clinicians are so overbooked that they have to work after hours trying to help patients who can’t wait for care.”

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