Archive for the ‘Labor & Unions’ Category

Kaiser responds to Tuesday evening’s planned healthcare worker protest at headquarters

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

In response to yesterday’s announcement by SEIU United Healthcare Workers, regarding launching a protest at Kaiser headquarters in Oakland, today at 5:00 p.m., John Nelson, Vice President Communications, Kaiser Permanente offered the following response.

Regarding the question about gardeners:

As we do with our other medical center campuses, Kaiser Permanente is engaging a professional commercial landscaping vendor at our remaining facilities in Northern California, giving all of our campuses the benefit of the most expert, efficient, and ecologically sound practices.

The decision about landscaping affects 63 employees, some of whom have already found other positions at Kaiser Permanente. We value these employees, and any affected employee who wishes to remain employed with Kaiser Permanente in a new role will be able to do so.

SEIU-UHW is making statements about Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to its employees that are misleading and incorrect. The truth is that Kaiser Permanente is growing and adding jobs overall. With more than 149,000 employees and 16,000 physicians, we have added more than 13,000 jobs in the state since 2016.  In fact, the number of our employees represented by SEIU-UHW has grown by more than 8,000 statewide since 2016.

On the planned labor activity:

Kaiser Permanente has been notified by SEIU-UHW leadership that the union plans to conduct informational picketing at several of our California offices and medical centers during May 2019. It’s important for our members and patients to know that informational picketing is not a strike and it does not impact our care delivery or operations. While this union is staging picketing, the physicians and employees of Kaiser Permanente will remain focused on the important work of delivering high-quality, affordable care to our members and improving the health of the communities we serve.

Kaiser Permanente started bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions in mid-April. We believe that by working together in partnership with the unions that represent our employees, we will continue to achieve the best results for our members, patients, and the communities who depend on Kaiser Permanente to provide high-quality, affordable health care — and help to keep Kaiser Permanente a great place to work for all. We reiterate our pledge to bargain in good faith and our commitment to reach fair and equitable agreements that provide our employees with excellent, market-competitive benefits and wages.

We are disappointed that some union leaders are choosing to make false allegations and pursue an adversarial, destructive approach as part of their bargaining strategy.

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Healthcare workers to launch protest Tues, May 7 at Kaiser Headquarters over job cuts, company’s spending

Monday, May 6th, 2019

Claim health giant is sitting on $31 billion, yet layoffs begin June 7

OAKLAND, Calif. Hundreds of healthcare workers, elected officials, faith leaders and community members concerned about healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente’s increasingly profit-driven behavior will rally at 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 7 at national company headquarters, 1 Kaiser Plaza in Oakland, to urge the company to reverse its plan to eliminate jobs at several facilities across Northern California. It is part of a protest at the headquarters and will include an encampment of laid-off workers and their families, a candlelight vigil, visits from politicians and clergy, and the building of a live garden.

“It really tells you something that Kaiser is sitting on tens of billions of dollars in reserves and paying its CEO $16 million a year but then cuts good jobs that support families – it tells you Kaiser is a corporation that has stopped caring about the community,” said Phil Osmond, a Kaiser gardener for 23 years in Oakland. “Kaiser is a non-profit company, and for many years it acted that way and was part of the community. But over the past 10 years it more and more acted like a typical for-profit corporation worried only about the bottom line.”

Under the plan, 63 gardeners will lose their jobs June 7 and an outside company would oversee an entirely new workforce that is paid less and receives fewer benefits than current Kaiser employees. Nearly 100 federal, state and local elected officials in California have sent letters to Kaiser opposing the corporation’s outsourcing plans.

Although the gardeners may be eligible for other jobs within the company, many are concerned they will not find suitable positions because they pay less, are part-time or do not match their skills and experience. Supporters of the workers also have expressed concern that a majority of the affected staff are women and people of color.

The gardeners work at facilities in the following 16 cities: Antioch; Fremont; Manteca; Modesto; Oakland; Richmond; San Francisco; San Jose; San Leandro; San Rafael; Santa Clara; Santa Rosa; Stockton; Vacaville; Vallejo; and Walnut Creek.

Despite being a non-profit organization and self-described community-oriented health provider, Kaiser appears to be behaving just like any other large, for-profit corporation. It reported reserves of $31.5 billion and profits of $6.3 billion the last two years. In 2017, its CEO received a 60 percent raise to more than $16 million in annual compensation, and 35 other executives received more than $1 million annually.

All the while, because it’s a non-profit organization, Kaiser does not have to pay income taxes or property taxes—thus saving itself an estimated $1.1 billion on California and federal income taxes alone in 2017. In contrast, the savings from outsourcing the gardeners is about $1 million, meaning those jobs could easily be protected without putting even a perceptible ripple in the company’s bottom line.

More than 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California are members of SEIU-UHW.

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the western United States with 95,000 members. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org

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Federal labor board receives complaint against Kaiser Permanente for refusing to negotiate contract affecting 85,000 healthcare workers in 7 states

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

National Labor Relations Board to hold legal hearing March 19 in Oakland

By Sean Wherley, Media Relations Specialist, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West

The federal government recently indicted healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente for refusing to negotiate a contract affecting 85,000 employees in seven states and the District of Columbia, and for wrongly tying those negotiations to a ban on political activity against the company.

“The workers who have helped make this company so successful over the years now feel that their concerns are validated,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. “No longer can Kaiser Permanente claim it was trying to do right by its employees and patients by holding up bargaining and trying to stop workers from speaking out.”

Kaiser Permanente has until Jan. 11 to respond to the decision, and a legal hearing will begin March 19 in Oakland, according to the indictment released Dec. 28 by the National Labor Relations Board.

Kaiser Permanente employees filed a complaint in May 2018 because the company repeatedly canceled contract negotiations with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which comprises 11 labor unions in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The coalition’s national agreement with Kaiser Permanente expired Sept. 30, 2018. The company had previously negotiated contracts with the coalition since 1997.

Last November, Kaiser Permanente settled a contract with a different group of labor unions that prohibits those unions from taking action against the company, whether through ballot initiatives, legislation or other public campaigns. Kaiser tried to apply the same condition to bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions; however, the Dec. 28 indictment blocks that effort.

Kaiser Permanente’s refusal to bargain comes in the midst of a plan to outsource jobs to “save” money, despite the corporation reporting reserves of $30 billion and profits of $3.8 billion in 2017. In addition, the Kaiser CEO is paid more than $10 million annually, and 30 executives are paid more than $1 million a year.

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