Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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David Mallon

David Mallon has advanced degrees in clinical social work and psychology. He has worked as a psychiatric social worker at Kaiser for over 12 years.

July 13th, 2011 3:38 PM

Kaiser Executive Ninjas

Visit us at and tell Kaiser executives to put patients before profits! -David

It was a broadside attack.

I hadn’t set my foot down across the threshold of my front door when they emerged out of the bushes by the windows, from behind the sofa, descending on ropes from the rafters, and popping up from hiding places like ninjas…

“Like ninjas?”

How silly of me: They were ninjas!

Kaiser Executive Ninjas! (KENs, for short.) And they were swathed in black silk suits, black silk shirts, black silk ties, and black silk masks covering their avaricious eyes.

I thought I was a goner.

All the years I’ve worked at Kaiser Permanente I’d heard whispers and rumors of the KENs. Didn’t believe it though. Scaredy cat stuff was what I thought. Ninjas. Humbug!

But all that changed once they had me bound with their black silk ropes and lashed to a chair in my hallway before I could blink an eye. "They’re good!" I thought.

“What do you want!” I shouted. The stout one – the one the others referred to as George – smoothly smacked me across the cheek with the back of a silk-gloved hand and suavely responded, “Your pension, punk!

I was horrified.

It was true! There really are Kaiser Executive Ninjas!

They come like black-garbed locusts, descending upon hapless Kaiser employees, stripping them of their health plans, their pensions, their futures!

And now they wanted mine. 

"Search the house!” George hissed to his crew as he bent down to empty my pockets.

“Where is your pension, twerp?” he rasped as he applied pressure to a part of my anatomy best left unnamed.

“In the mattress,” I coughed out in a high-pitched squeal.

“Ben! The mattress!” George bellowed as the horde of KENs rushed to my bedroom.  

In seconds my mattress was carved open, great clouds of feathers everywhere floating down upon the frenzied KENs. In the mayhem the stout one yanked out my pension plan.

“Ben! Another one to add to the collection!" he exclaimed. "Let’s be off, boys and girls. Take whatever you want...and if he objects,” he said, nodding at me, “Then discharge him for insubordination!”

Then they scurried out the windows and up their ropes, and it was over. 

They were gone.

You may chuckle at this description of Kaiser's executives, but, basically, it's all true. Kaiser Permanente is making ten million dollars a day in profits and is sitting on an astonishing $12 billion dollars in reserves.  

George Halvorson, Kaiser's CEO, enjoyed $8 million in compensation in 2009 and his fellow Kaiser executives, like Bernard Tyson and Ben Chu, receive no fewer than eight different pensions!

But that's not stopping those same executives from trying to cut the pension plan that 4,000 Kaiser employees rely upon for our retirements. That's not fair.

And if that makes you a little bit angry, I have something you can do about it.

Visit us at and tell these Kaiser Executive Ninjas that it's time to do the right thing for Kaiser patients and workers.

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