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Bay Area Workers Demand More Pay, Benefits At Labor Day Demonstrations

OAKLAND (KPIX 5/AP) - Workers were demanding better pay and benefits at Labor Day demonstrations in Oakland and San Francisco.

More than 1,000 Kaiser workers and supporters rallied in Oakland Monday to protest planned job cuts at the health care giant, organizers said.

The march began at Mosswood Park and continued to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center on MacArthur Boulevard. The action is not a strike.

The cuts include outsourcing 96 pharmacy warehouse workers in Oakland and Livermore and outsourcing 43 licensed vocational nurses in San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, Santa Clara and Walnut Creek, according to SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West.

In response, "We are disappointed that the current leadership of SEIU-UHW has chosen to mischaracterize Kaiser Permanent's strong commitment to labor and to pursue an adversarial, destructive approach," John Nelson, a Kaiser spokesman, said in a statement.

Nelson said Kaiser has added more than 13,000 jobs in the state since 2015, and "we have more than 12,000 open staff positions and will continue to add many kinds of jobs."

In San Francisco, protesting workers from Marriott International brought traffic around Union Square to a halt.

Police arrested demonstrators blocking Powell Street at Geary.

The workers are fighting for more pay and benefits after months of stalled negotiations.

Marriott International sent out a statement saying the company "has longstanding and productive relationships" with its workers and "is negotiating in good faith and in a timely fashion to obtain the best outcomes for our associates and guests."

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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