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NUHW Kaiser strike. (Photo: Twitter)

30,000 Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Employees Set to Strike Nov. 15

At issue is a proposed two-tiered wage system

By Katy Grimes, November 5, 2021 10:46 am

Kaiser Permanente in Southern California is set to strike November 15th, the Globe was told Thursday by a Kaiser physician.  The walkout is expected to impact 366 Southern California hospitals and medical centers in Anaheim, the Antelope Valley, Baldwin Park, Downey, Fontana, Harbor City, Irvine, Los Angeles, Ontario, Panorama City, Riverside, San Diego, West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills.

Here is the memo he was sent:

The Orange County Register reported Friday:

Union leaders representing more than 30,000 Kaiser Permanente workers, including nearly 27,000 in Southern California, have given management a 10-day notice of their intent to strike beginning Monday, Nov. 15 over what they claim are proposed wage cuts for new and existing employees.

Workers ranging from nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants, to occupational therapists, appointment clerks and environmental service workers plan to participate in the strike over what the union alleges is Kaiser’s proposal to depress wages for current employees and slash pay for incoming workers via a two-tier wage system that would take effect amid the COVID-19 health crisis.

LAIST reported:

On Thursday, the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals and United Steelworkers Local 7600 filed a 10-day notice that they intend to stop work on Nov. 15. The warning is required by state law so health facilities can prepare.

At issue is a proposed two-tiered wage system. Kaiser is proposing lower wages for future hires than for current employees, which they say will help keep costs down without cutting pay, a stipulation the unions emphatically reject, LAIST reported.

Steve Shields, SVP, National Labor Relations & the Office of the Labor Management Partnership, and Jim Pruitt, VP of Labor Relations for The Permanente Federation posted this message on the Kaiser website:

Over the last few weeks, we have been meeting regularly with leaders of the Alliance of Health Care Unions to work toward our shared commitment to reach an agreement that allows us to remain a great place to work while providing affordable care for our communities. We’ve made progress in many areas and are currently focused on addressing two major issues that remain unresolved: across-the-board pay increases and above-market wages.

Across-the-board pay increases: On Tuesday, we offered Alliance leaders an updated economic proposal that provides additional across-the-board pay increases while maintaining all of your great benefits and retirement programs with no take-aways. Our new offer provides you as much as 4% a year in pay increases. Here’s how we get there:

    • A 2% across-the-board guaranteed pay increase in each of the four years of the contract — which represents a total $9,360* increase over the life of the contract
    • Guaranteed 2% cash payments in years 1 and 2 — which totals an additional $4,680* on average
    • The potential for an additional 2% cash payment in both years 3 and 4, for a total of $4,680* on average, if the goals of a new Joint Task Force are met

Improving our affordability: Kaiser Permanente is committed to paying competitive, above-market wages and maintaining our industry-leading benefits. However, we must address our rising cost structure, which is making us less competitive, and threatening our future in some markets. Currently, our represented employees are paid on average 26% above the market — and as much as 38% in some markets. These numbers don’t include the value of our industry-leading benefits and retirement/pension plans. In order to ensure our future, we need to improve our affordability.

New Joint Task Force: To address our affordability challenges, we’ve proposed to form a Joint Alliance and KP Task Force. Using an interest-based approach, the Joint Task Force would work together to evaluate our above-market wages in each market and make recommendations to address the continued escalation of new hire salaries by January 1, 2024. Our offer seeks definitive actions should the Joint Task Force not propose a solution that addresses the escalation of new hire salaries.

No changes to your industry-leading benefits: All Alliance-represented employees will continue to get high-quality medical and dental coverage with the same low copays, excellent retirement plans and job security, and no changes to low health insurance premiums — a plan worth $20,000 per year for the average family. You also remain eligible for a performance sharing plan target of 3% each year, which is approximately $3,510*.

Our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. To secure our mission and our future, and ensure KP remains a best place to work, we are committed to continue bargaining in good faith with Alliance leadership to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. We have a long history of successfully working together to address tough challenges — and we are confident we can work through the new challenges we face today.

Kaiser employees are also preparing to strike in Oregon and Washington state.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) said:

The NUHW-represented clinicians have not submitted a formal strike notice to Kaiser, and no strike date has been set. The strike authorization comes as Kaiser Stationary Engineers in Northern California are entering their second month of an open-ended strike and the Alliance of Health Care Unions announced that 36,000 members, including more than 24,000 workers in Southern California and Hawaii, have authorized a strike against Kaiser.

“We’ve been at the forefront in exposing Kaiser’s greed in underfunding mental health care and forcing patients to wait months between therapy appointments,” said Mickey Fitzpatrick, a Kaiser psychologist in the Bay Area. “Now, we have the opportunity to stand together with other unions and show that Kaiser’s greed is harming patients.”

 

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10 thoughts on “30,000 Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Employees Set to Strike Nov. 15

  1. its not hard to see how medicine/pharma and us government have colluded with ccp to fleece american people of their wealth, health and freedom. remember the virus is from china by us infusion research (see nih). most pharmaceutical ingredients are made in china. many ingredients are combined in china. where do you think the vaccine ingredients are made and combined? remember back when we had a literate leader in the white house and the covid onset. the talk about bringing back pharma to america. i seem to remember talk about using an old kodak factory. its a no brainer, its a china virus and now have to get the china vaccine! we getting played big time. dismantle corporate/government run healthcare. how anyone can have any faith in medicine/pharma is beyond me. stay out and stay alive. If your still not sure. research the opioid crisis.

    1. If you are pushing the Made in China rhetoric about COVID you are foolishly and maliciously looking in the wrong direction. It may be convenient for certain pharmaceutical and government interests to push that sleazy narrative but it is not the Chinese who are forcing Americans to be pin cushions and lab rats for experimental drug therapies. And it is definitely not the Chinese forcing us to wear suffocating, misery inducing psychological props over our faces as either an inducement or punishment in a sadistic, cruel attempt to force this nasty injection on every human with a pulse to include children. The Chinese are not responsible for destroying the American economy, jobs, lives and health while engaging in this heinous, despicable effort to cull much of humankind and impose their “reset”. China has no interest in forcing us to comply with the creepy “vaccine passports” our layers of government want so dearly. It is blatantly obvious at this point who the originators of the plandemic are. Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab, Fauchi, Biden and all the rest of them are not Chinese or did you miss that part???

      1. see “colluded” in first sentence. my apologies for implying anything else. agreed we have many implicated american leaders/corporations. are you comfortable with a bulk of american medicine made in china? do you think pharma corporations should be liable for side affects of vaccine? what are your thoughts about pick and choose vaccine mandates? does it make sense the usps gets a vax pass when they deliver mail to nearly every household in america? do they clean their hands after handling each piece of mail? im still unsure if the covid isnt passed by our antibiotics. wouldnt it make sense to attack drug dependent america through the drug supply? i dont see anyone has tested that theory.

  2. In 1976, there was a Doctor’s strike in Los Angeles County (only ER’s staying open for the whole county) – and mortality and morbidity DECLINED 60% – in other words, healthcare makes people sicker. I always said Kaiser was hazardous to your health.

    The same pattern of closing the hospitals and doctor’s offices and causing people to live longer and healthier has panned out in Israel, Sweden, and Colombia – all where doctor’s strikes save lives.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18849101/

  3. Kaiser is wrongly pushing workers for strike. In a competitive world, they need to charge competitive premiums to customers and provide competitive salary to workers. In stead of that, they are hiring workers including IT professionals from India (whom they hired in 2000 and relocated to USA in 2000 on the promise of greencard but outsourced the project to TCS in 2002, made the workers give knowledge transfer to TCS workers from 2002-2006, did not provide them salary hike, did not provide greencard and sent them back to India in 2007 putting at risk, the worker and his family, while at the same time, donating billions to charities and playing the “affordable healthcare” game) and then cut salaries, benefits and donate money to charities. If they take care of employees well and provide them the promised salary, benefits, why will they strike

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