Mental Health Strike at Kaiser Oakland - 01/01/2024 at 7pm - Learn More >>

We're building a movement to create lasting change

NUHW and our allies advocate for improved access to mental health care, living wages for healthcare workers, safely-staffed hospitals, and a healthcare system that works for everyone.

Behavioral Health Associate Membership

Mental health therapists unite!

Private-practice therapists can join NUHW as associate members to help fix our nation’s broken mental healthcare system.

Our Campaigns

What We Fight For

We’ve passed landmark laws requiring insurers to provide timely mental health therapy appointments, developed innovative contract language to protect jobs and safeguard staffing levels, and taken a leadership role in the fight for a better healthcare system that serves everyone.


We have empowered members to win double-digit raises, set specific staffing requirements, and prevent job losses in the event of an ownership change.

NUHW members are empowered to set their own goals for contract bargaining and fight for contracts that can change their lives and improve the care their patients receive. Since the worst days of the pandemic, NUHW members have won industry-leading contracts with big raises.

Workers at Keck Medical Center of USC won a contract that increased wages up to 39 percent for hospital workers and up to 68 percent for previously unorganized call center workers.

At Providence Cedars Sinai Tarzana Medical Center, NUHW members won a contract that will increase wages by an average of 40 percent and transform the hospital from one of the lowest-paying in the Providence system to one of the highest-paying.

At UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland, where NUHW represents more than 1,300 workers, clerical, service and professional workers stood together to make sure they not only won strong wage increases, but also secured provisions that protected jobs.


We sponsored a landmark mental health parity law and helped pass a law to increase penalties on insurers that violate it.

NUHW represents more private sector behavioral healthcare professionals than any other union in the country, and is a leader in the fight to achieve full parity for mental health care.

At the forefront of this fight are more than 4,500 psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage and family therapists who work at Kaiser Permanente in California and Hawai’i. As NUHW members, these workers have waged the longest mental healthcare strikes in U.S. history to force Kaiser to begin adequate staffing its clinics and end dangerously long wait times for therapy appointments.

Through the efforts of NUHW members, including a 10-week strike in Northern California, the state of California has fined Kaiser $50 million for violating mental health parity laws and ordered Kaiser to make transformative improvements to its behavioral healthcare system.

NUHW is also a leader when it comes to passing landmark mental health parity legislation. SB 221, which was passed into law in 2021 requires all health plans to provide follow-up therapy appointments within 10 business days unless the treating therapist determines that a longer wait would not be detrimental to the patient.


We help lead a coalition of unions, healthcare advocacy groups, and anti-poverty organizations committed to making California the model for healthcare reform nationwide.

NUHW is a leader in the Medicare-for-All movement. Our members see first hand that our current profit-driven healthcare system enriches hospital and insurance executives, whose pay is tied to cutting costs rather than providing the best possible care.

We are leading members of Healthy California Now, the state’s largest coalition of unions, community groups, healthcare advocates and anti-poverty organizations that is committed to making California the first state to accomplish a single-payer, Medicare-for-All healthcare system.

In 2023, we passed SB 770 into law. The bill establishes the framework for building the infrastructure of a Medicare-for-All-style system in California by working with the Biden Administration on the waivers necessary for federal healthcare dollars to flow into a new system that would guarantee all Californians with better care at lower costs.

Policy and Legislation

Driving change at the Capitol

We help pass bills to protect workers and patients — and we fight to make sure those bills are vigorously enforced

NUHW has become a force in Sacramento for the rights of healthcare workers and patients.

In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed NUHW-sponsored SB 221 into law, over the objections of the health insurance industry. The bill was drafted to address dangerously long wait times for follow-up mental health therapy appointments, including for members of Kaiser Permanente, who often had to wait months between therapy sessions.

The law, which went into effect in 2022, requires health plans, including Kaiser, to provide follow-up therapy appointments within 10 business days unless the treating therapist determines that a longer wait would not be detrimental to the patient.

NUHW has also been a key coalition partner in other recent mental health reform bills that have expanded the definition of what constitutes “medically necessary” treatment and increased fines tenfold on health plans that violate access-to-care laws.

Building Community Power

We work with allies to build power across communities

NUHW is part of a growing community of organizations fighting for change.

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