A welcome back message from Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Hawaii Regions, and Judy White, chief operations officer, SCPMG, calling for team cohesiveness through mutual respect:
We welcome back to work the members of National Union of Healthcare Worker’s (NUHW) Psych-Social Chapter and Health Care Professionals unit who participated in last week’s work stoppage. At the same time, we want to offer our appreciation to those who came to work to take care of our members and patients.
We understand that there will always be differences of opinion, and we respect the right of each individual to make his or her personal choice. To foster a culture that respects all individuals, we are committed to maintaining a safe environment that protects both our patients and our employees’ rights. This includes having a workplace that promotes courtesy and respect and that is free from harassment, even when there are differences of opinion. We ask that we all continue to focus on the common reason we chose to work at Kaiser Permanente–our shared mission to provide high-quality, affordable care and improve the health of our members and the communities we serve.
We acknowledge NUHW’s legal right to conduct a strike, but ask yourself if your best interests are being met by this current approach? We believe the greatest opportunity for a mutually beneficial contract is at the bargaining table. We stand committed to reaching a fair and equitable contract with NUHW. We encourage our NUHW-represented employees to work with their union leadership to come back to the bargaining table. With both sides engaging in the process, there is no reason we cannot succeed.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to building and delivering a world-class mental health care system for our members and patients. We’re launching an effort to improve mental health care for our members and for the nation as a whole. We work together with nearly every other union to engage in continuous improvement of our other areas of health care. We want to do the same with NUHW and mental health care, but the union has to be willing to work constructively. Mental health care in our society today faces serious challenges, and we all need to work together to develop solutions. These challenges impact all providers, not just Kaiser Permanente. Working together with our therapists in the Psych-Social Chapter and with external mental health experts and advocates, we believe we can address these issues and make progress on behalf of our patients and the industry as a whole.
Our employees who assist our members who have mental health care needs are critical to our efforts. Moving forward, let’s work together on ways to enhance the high quality of our mental health care, continue improving access to services for our members, and ensure that Kaiser Permanente remains the best place to work and receive care.