Doctors strike at East Bay clinics serving low-income, homeless patients

Medical and mental health workers gather outside the West Berkeley Health Center on Tuesday morning during a daylong strike. After negotiating their first contract for over a year, the unionized workers and LifeLong management have yet to reach a deal. Credit: Ximena Natera, Berkeleyside/CatchLight

Some 140 doctors, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, and other LifeLong Medical Care providers went on strike Tuesday over conditions and pay at the organization’s clinics across the Bay Area.

The health care workers, some wearing their white lab coats, rallied outside of the West Berkeley Health Center on Sixth Street in the morning, waving signs and eliciting supportive honks from passing cars. 

“We know what our patients need—and we’re unable to provide them with what they need,” Mike Sweeney, a nurse practitioner at LifeLong’s Ashby Health Center, said. “It’s painful for us and it’s painful for our patients.”