Bargaining Update

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Labor Update – 06/04/19

June 4, 2019

A special message to our Kaiser Permanente Southern California NUHW Healthcare Professionals from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, and Julie Miller-Phipps, regional president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals. 

In our May 10 letter to you, we shared our optimism over a new path of collaboration after several weeks of conversations with patients, providers, and members of the bargaining team. Over the three weeks of bargaining we’ve had since then, we feel even more positive that we have jointly made tremendous progress toward an agreement. We are sending you this letter, so you can see for yourself the comprehensive set of proposals and initiatives we have been discussing in bargaining. We know it’s long, and we hope you’ll agree this is important, so are providing you with everything.

Your bargaining team colleagues are thoughtful, credible and informative. We feel so fortunate to have such a talented and compassionate group of clinicians at the table committed to providing the highest quality of l health care and service to our members and patients. They shared your desire for inclusion in a collaborative process with management to design the future model of care. They also helped us understand your perspective on equity in rewards and recognition, and the desire to improve care for our members.

We share in this commitment. We want to ensure you are aware of several efforts we are mobilizing – some on our own initiative, and some subject to bargaining – to improve access and care for patients, and address what we have learned about your interests.

We have listened to your concerns and in response we are committed to the following immediate actions to make a positive difference for our patients and providers:

Rewards and Recognition that reflect our industry leading compensation and benefits program:

  • Combination of wage increases and guaranteed lump sum payments that ensure continued market leading compensation. For Health Care Professionals we are proposing across-the-board wage increases for the of 3% (retroactive to October 2018), and 2% for the next two years, coupled with 1% lump sum payments in each of those next two years.
  • Annual Performance Sharing Bonus program up to $3,000 for the Health Care Professionals Unit
  • We will also commit to work together to gather and analyze data related to Kaiser Permanente jobs and pay rates, develop a common understanding of this data relative to the market, and review our findings ahead of the next round of bargaining. We remain committed to competitive pay that allows Kaiser Permanente to continue to be an employer of choice while improving affordability and delivering high-quality care and service.
  • In addition to the existing Employer’s contribution of 6% to the Defined Contribution pension plan, we are offering an additional 3% match of your contribution. So, if you contribute 3%, the net effect would be a 12% annual contribution.
  • Double the retiree medical Health Reimbursement Account from $1,000 per year of service to $2,000. No change to existing active medical and pension programs
  • Increase the annual dental maximum and child lifetime orthodontics maximum to $1,500 to bring you on par with other professionals.
  • Increase tuition reimbursement from $2,500 to $3,000 with $750 of the total usable for travel which bring this benefit on par with other roles.

Communication

At the bargaining table, we have put forward the essential elements to close bargaining in a comprehensive proposal that reflects our interest in improving the working conditions and compensation of our valued Healthcare Professionals and improving services for our members and patients.

Thank you for your dedication to our patients and the work you do every day. Together, we will work to improve health care services to make Kaiser Permanente the employer of choice for Healthcare Professionals and demonstrate that Kaiser Permanente is a model for the entire nation.

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2019 Coalition Bargaining Update

May 29, 2019

A Coalition Bargaining Update From Dennis Dabney, senior vice president, National Labor Relations and the Office of the Labor Management Partnership; and Jim Pruitt, vice president, Labor Management Partnership and Labor Relations, The Permanente Federation:

Management and union representatives addressed complicated questions during the 2-day Kaiser Permanente-Coalition bargaining session in Los Angeles that ended Wednesday, May 29.

At this point in the interest-based negotiations, as expected, the participants in each of the 3 subgroups worked on refining their common interests — a process that also exposed differing views.

In the subgroup working on how to strengthen our Labor Management Partnership, the bargaining team developed options around training — with concerns raised about region-to-region variations. Possible options include standardizing lesson content and enhancing delivery options for employees.

“It’s about the value of training,” said Richard Trogman, chief operating officer of the Woodland Hills Medical Center in Southern California. “You have to express the commitment and the expectation. Just ‘checking the box’ won’t get you there.”

“This is our opportunity. If we’re going to move this organization forward, the frontline has to have training,” said Donna Norton, an SEIU-UHW member and union partnership representative from Northern California.

The Work of the Future subgroup, meanwhile, agreed to a dozen shared interests and grouped them into buckets such as career development, early engagement, and innovation in care delivery, and then began to develop options.

Paul Costa, director of National Labor Relations, takes notes during the Operations Effectiveness and Care Quality subgroup meeting.

In the Operational Effectiveness and Care Quality subgroup, much of the discussion centered on workplace safety issues. The engaged and vocal group identified key opportunities where joint efforts will help ensure a safe environment for everyone.

Throughout the day, one constant was a strong belief in the value of partnership.

“I’m encouraged by the level of engagement around some really tough issues,” said Rosalyn Evans, the managing director for the Labor Management Partnership in Northern California and the management co-lead for the Partnership subgroup. “We want to partner optimally while ensuring the success of our organization to provide the best care for our members.”

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2019 Coalition Bargaining Update

May 28, 2019

A Coalition Bargaining Update From Dennis Dabney, Senior Vice President, National Labor Relations and the Office of the Labor Management Partnership; and Jim Pruitt, Vice President, Labor Management Partnership and Labor Relations, The Permanente Federation:

Management and union representatives opened the second session of bargaining between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions on a high note, seeking common ground both inside and outside their meeting rooms. 

In the Commitment to Partnership subgroup, bargaining team members broke into small groups so managers and union leaders could discuss pain points around flexibility, timely decision-making, staffing, backfill, and training. Then together, they began to develop options that would enable us to solve those issues and improve an already world-class partnership.

Sam Bajaj, a chief operating officer, confers with Ethan Ruskin, an SEIU-UHW member from Northern California, during the Partnership subgroup meeting.

“Conversations have been respectful, honest, and transparent,” said Kim Pritchard, assistant medical group administrator at the Riverside Medical Center in Southern California and a management member of the bargaining team. “Everyone is voicing their ideas and interests.”

“We’re talking — and that can’t be understated,” said Ollie Allen, union bargaining team member, medical assistant for the Vallejo Chronic Pain Clinic in Northern California, and member of SEIU-UHW.

Understanding the value of strong relationships, managers and union members sat down together at meal times, too, using the time to get acquainted with one another and discover other common interests.

The 100-member bargaining team, known as the Common Issues Committee, is divided into 3 subgroups. In addition to the subgroup addressing how to strengthen our Labor Management Partnership, one is focused on how to improve organizational performance while delivering high-quality care, and the last on how to prepare for jobs that will be changing in the future.

Those groups also worked this session to identify common interests and develop options in their areas. 

Kaiser Permanente believes that by working in partnership with the unions that represent our employees, we will continue to achieve the best results for our members, patients, and the communities we serve. Together, we can advance Kaiser Permanente’s mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care — and help to keep Kaiser Permanente a great place to work.

Sincerely,

Dennis Dabney & Jim Pruitt

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Special Labor Update

May 10, 2019

A special message to our Healthcare Professionals from Julie Miller-Phipps, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Health Plan and Hospitals, and Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group:

As you know, we have been in active bargaining for nearly a year now. For the first several months, we can all probably agree that while we were all bargaining in good faith, neither management nor labor were really connecting with each other. That’s not a criticism of anyone involved, it’s just a fact, and there are a lot of reasons for it.

All that said, we seem to have turned a corner over the past several weeks, and we believe that we are on a path toward an agreement. If we can keep making progress, we think we can reach a new contract that is in all our best interests, and more than that, can help create ways to return to working collaboratively to address the very real problems we’re grappling with.

What has caused this change? Over the last several weeks, we have had several meetings with the NUHW bargaining team and we have a better understanding of your concerns and perspectives, and the issues that we need to solve together. These conversations have proven their importance, as we work together on ways to improve the care you provide to our members. Most of us have been personally touched or know of someone who has benefited from the great care provided by our Speech Pathologists, Audiologists, Dieticians, and Health Educators, and those experiences help galvanize us to do better.

At this critical and encouraging time in our contract negotiations, we hope to reach an agreement that will make it easier to work together to develop a new model of care that we can be proud of and can be used to improve health care everywhere. We are all critical to this important mission. And we know it’s challenging.

Thank you for your continued dedication to our members and patients, and for your patience as we work through this process to emerge with a fair contract that enables us to tackle the significant challenges we face together.

We will continue to keep you informed and will strive to provide more information to you next week.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Special Labor Update

May 10, 2019

A special message to our Psych-Social Chapter employees from Julie Miller-Phipps, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Health Plan and Hospitals, and Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group:

As you know, we have been in active bargaining for nearly a year now. For the first several months, we can all probably agree that while we were all bargaining in good faith, neither management nor labor were really connecting with each other. That’s not a criticism of anyone involved, it’s just a fact, and there are a lot of reasons for it.

All that said, we seem to have turned a corner over the past several weeks, and we believe that we are on a path toward an agreement. If we can keep making progress, we think we can reach a new contract that is in all our best interest, and more than that, can help create ways to return to working collaboratively to address the very real problems we’re grappling with in mental health care.

What has caused this change? Over the last several weeks, we have had a number of meetings with the NUHW bargaining team and we have a better understanding of your concerns and perspectives, and the issues that we need to solve together. These include addressing follow-up appointments, scheduling, workload and other matters that are important to you, and can help improve the ways we deliver care.

We have seen firsthand the dramatic increase in demand for care, and understand the strain that is putting on you and the whole profession. While we’ve been focused on building new offices and recruiting more providers, we realize that it is simply not enough to solve what is a national problem. We have to come together to work on ways to tackle this very complex challenge. None of us can do it alone.

We have had moving meetings with several Kaiser Permanente members who are living with the tragedy of suicide in their families. These conversations, like those we have with our Behavioral Health Patient Advisory Councils, are humbling but important, as we work together on ways to improve mental health care for our members. All of us have been personally touched by mental illness in one way or another, and these experiences help galvanize us to do better.

At this critical and encouraging time in our contract negotiations, we hope to reach an agreement that will make it easier to work together to develop a new model of care that we can be proud of, one that can be used everywhere to improve mental health care everywhere. We are all critical to this important mission. And we know it’s challenging.

Thank you for your continued dedication to our members and patients, and for your patience as we work through this process to emerge with a fair contract that enables us to tackle the significant challenges we face together.

We will continue to keep you informed and will strive to provide more information to you next week.

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Update

May 3, 2019

A message to our Healthcare Professionals from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals.

The 17th bargaining session between Kaiser Permanente and NUHW’s Healthcare Professionals unit occurred on Tuesday, April 30.

Kaiser Permanente and NUHW had a meaningful discussion during the session regarding NUHW’s proposal on career ladders.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for May 13.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Labor Update

April 25, 2019

A message to our Psych-Social Workers from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals.

The 21st bargaining session was held April 24th between Kaiser Permanente and NUHW.

NUHW provided a counter proposal to KP’s proposed Medical Social Work performance goals, presented on April 16th. Kaiser Permanente rejected this counter proposal.

KP requested a response to its December 20, 2018 economic proposal. The union conveyed that it would provide a comprehensive economic counter proposal but would not have it ready for this session.

Kaiser Permanente and NUHW agreed to hold May 17 and May 20 for the next bargaining sessions.

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KP-CKPU Update

April 18, 2019

An important message from Dennis Dabney, senior vice president, National Labor Relations and the Office of the Labor Management Partnership,  and Jim Pruitt, vice president, Labor Management Partnership and Labor Relations, The Permanente Federation:

It’s great to be able to report to you that our 2-day opening session of bargaining between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions went very well. Our goal is to craft a strong new KP–Coalition National Agreement that advances not only the interests of our organization and our employees who are represented by the Coalition unions, but that also better serves our members and patients. In these 2 days, we created a strong foundation that will help us achieve that success.

The most important part of this session was the joint interest-based bargaining training. The interest-based bargaining process is central to the success of our Labor Management Partnership. It’s an approach that allows both parties to identify our shared interests and develop options to strengthen our partnership, ensure we have the best place to work, and create innovative solutions that meet the needs of our members and the communities we serve. The interest-based bargaining process creates the framework where that can happen.

In addition, the group began to lay out what we see as the scope of work for 3 subgroups: Operations and Care Quality, Partnership, and Workforce of the Future. Participants also took time to express what’s most important to them in their jobs as health care professionals. This photo sums up the spirit and collaboration of the session.

Kaiser Permanente believes in partnership. Our commitment to our unions is as strong today as ever. With many of the Coalition unions’ local contracts close to expiring, it’s important to seek a new mutually beneficial Agreement.

By working 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 us to provide high-quality, affordable health care — and help to keep Kaiser Permanente a great place to work.

This starts with 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 look forward to giving you further updates. The next session will be May 14-16 in Los Angeles.

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Update

April 18, 2019

A message to our Healthcare Professionals from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals.

The 16th bargaining session between Kaiser Permanente and NUHW’s Healthcare Professionals unit occurred on Tuesday, April 16.

Kaiser Permanente and NUHW reached a tentative agreement for the Regional Professional Practice Committee.

An economic package that included a counter to NUHW’s proposal to increase the bilingual pay for Speech Therapists was presented by Kaiser Permanente.

NUHW offered a career ladder proposal for audiologists, speech therapists, and dieticians. KP rejected the proposals for the first two groups and will review the language for dietitians.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for April 30.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Labor Update

April 16, 2019

A message to our Psych-Social Workers from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

At the 20th bargaining session held April 12, Kaiser Permanente and NUHW representatives finalized a tentative agreement on how to create a “Psychotherapy Model of Care and Innovation Collaborative.” This would be a 10-member group that would include an equal number of NUHW and KP representatives who would meet on average twice a month and require a 6-month commitment to develop measurable and clear recommendations to improve delivery of effective, high-quality clinical care.

An additional tentative agreement was signed by both parties to retain a subcontracting provision from the expired 2015 – 2018 agreement.

KP also proposed a tentative agreement centering around incentive plans for Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, Medical Social Work, and Home Health. The proposal is currently under review by the NUHW.

Other economic items were not addressed during this session and may be discussed at the next confirmed bargaining session scheduled on April 24.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social and Healthcare Professionals Update

April 8, 2019

A special message to our Kaiser Permanente Southern California NUHW employees from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

Dear Colleagues:

As you are aware, Kaiser Permanente and NUHW have been bargaining since July 2018. Throughout the process, we’ve been committed to providing you with ongoing bargaining updates. As a valued employee, we think it’s important that you receive accurate information from both sides of the bargaining table so that you can make informed decisions. Recently, you received communications from the NUHW leadership that we must respond to directly because it contains misinformation and false claims.

Kaiser Permanente, its leaders, physicians, and employees support our unions and value the process of arriving at a contract that benefits the employees and organization, and ultimately sustains our mission of health for our members and communities. This process only works when it’s built on a foundation of transparency, trust, and truth. Please take a few moments to review the information that follows below. As always, we’re grateful for your dedication to the mission, our members and patients.

Thank you.

NUHW Claim: In the three months since we went on strike, KP has barely moved on core issues that must be resolved in our next contract.

KP Response: NUHW’s demands for pay related increases are unreasonably high, and that’s why we’re far apart on economic issues. The union cannot expect KP to use members’ premiums to “make-up” for wage increases not received during the five years the union took to reach and sign the 2015 agreement with KP. Our organization has a track record of paying above the median market rate for our Psych-Social and Healthcare Professionals employees and market data already shared with the union’s bargaining teams verify that fact. For example:

Unit & Position% Above SCAL Median Wages
Psych-Social Chapter  
Psychologists27%
Licensed Clinical Social Workers23%
Healthcare Professionals  
Audiologists11%
Speech Pathologists 7%
Dieticians 24%

At KP we are committed to paying market competitive salaries and benefits, including retirement, to our people to ensure we keep the great people we have and continue to attract and retain new talent.

NUHW Claim: KP has offered no realistic proposal to increase staffing, improve access to treatment appointments, or make our schedules more manageable.

KP Response: We’ve been addressing options to meet the ever-increasing demand for mental health services, including improving access and the use of highly-qualified outside contractors (this latter option was agreed to by NUHW when it signed the 2015 contract). These outside mental health professionals have contributed to easing the appointment demand as we also continue to address access needs by building additional facilities and offices for our therapists. We’ve also proposed the creation of a new “Psychotherapy Model of Care and Innovation Collaborative” – a 12-member group that would include an equal number of NUHW and KP representatives who would meet on a quarterly basis to develop strategies to address issues such as access to care and how our current model needs to evolve for KP to be the model for Behavioral Health.

NUHW Claim: KP is offering lower raises than what they provided to other unionized workers.

KP Response: Our wage proposals are based on market data that shows KP already pays wages that are above the market. NUHW’s demands for wage increases are unreasonably high, and that’s why we’re far apart on economic issues. Additionally, the union’s current wage demands place an unfair and unsustainable burden on our membership and establish false expectations among the KP Southern California employees it represents. Each contract we establish with one of our unions is a separate agreement determined through bargaining and based on the circumstances of that bargaining unit.

NUHW Claim: KP has refused to restore defined-benefit pensions for recent hires in Southern California.

KP Response: This is true. As we’ve said, Kaiser Permanente will not restore this program. It’s an unsustainable plan over the long term. The union, of its own accord, agreed to eliminate this program for new hires when it signed the 2015 agreement. And if we’re going to make our members’ health care more affordable, we cannot resume highly expensive programs of the past.

NUHW Claim: KP is refusing to seriously tackle major problems or treat NUHW members with the same dignity as its other employees.

KP Response: We always have and always will respect our unions and their members. It is employees — represented or not— working in concert with our physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals who make it possible for us to meet the health needs of our 4.6 million Southern California Health Plan members. Throughout our nearly 75-year history, we have a strong record of positive performance and success when it comes to bargaining fairly with the unions that represent our employees. We value our employees as well as their rights to be represented by their unions.

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Update

April 1, 2019

A message to our Healthcare Professionals from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals.

The 15th bargaining session between Kaiser Permanente and NUHW’s Healthcare Professionals unit occurred on Wednesday, March 27.

The parties signed a tentative agreement regarding tuition reimbursement; this will increase the amount of the total annual reimbursement that can be allocated to travel and lodging expenses. Kaiser Permanente proposed an increase in the Employer match for the Defined Contribution retirement plan and is awaiting the Union’s response.

NUHW reiterated their position concerning the importance of their proposed increase in bilingual pay for Speech Therapists and adding a 15-year longevity step for all Health Care Professionals’ classifications.

The union also agreed to clarify by the next bargaining session a previously submitted proposal regarding career ladders.

The next confirmed meeting date is April 16.

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KPSC Psych-Social Labor Update

March 28, 2019

A message to our Psych-Social Workers from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

On Tuesday, March 26, we held the 19th bargaining session between Kaiser Permanente and NUHW’s Psych-Social Chapter. As previously agreed to by labor and management, Tom Schneider, an outside consultant from a company called RAI, served as the session’s facilitator. Also in attendance was NUHW president, Sal Rosselli. The meeting, which began on a positive note, ended abruptly with the unexpected departure of the union delegation.

This session concentrated on continuing to outline parameters agreed to during the March 15 meeting to create a Psychotherapy Model of Care and Innovation Collaborative. A subgroup of management and union representatives met offline on two occasions following the March 15 meeting to produce a joint proposal to be approved by the full union and management committees at the March 26 session.

The NUHW team agreed in principle to the proposal and viewed the creation of the Collaborative as a very positive development. After the union took a lengthy caucus, KP was informed that the union would not agree to the Collaborative proposal unless the same terms were offered and accepted by the Northern California Region KP-NUHW bargaining teams. KP requested an explanation of this new demand from the subgroup’s union members and requested to bring the parties back together. It was at this point that KP learned the NUHW team had left the building without explanation or advisement to the KP team.

Our next scheduled session is April 14.

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Update

March 18, 2019

A message to our Psych-Social Workers from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals.

At the 18th bargaining session held March 15, 2019, Labor and Management representatives discussed how to create a Psychotherapy Model of Care and Innovation Collaborative. The next steps on this concept is for a small subgroup to work on an initial draft document that can be presented as a formal proposal at the next bargaining session.

Additionally, a Tentative Agreement was signed regarding tuition reimbursement, allowing employees to submit up to $750 of the maximum annual tuition reimbursement ($3000) for travel, room/lodging expenses. Management also proposed an increase in the Employer match under the DC Plan to 2%. The Union is reviewing the DC proposal.

Lastly, discussions regarding the various Incentive Plans were also part of the session. The parties agree in principle to the proposed Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine and Home Health/Hospice Plans; the Medical Social Worker Incentive Plan remains open.

The next confirmed bargaining date is March 26, 2019.

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Update

February 25, 2019

A message to our Healthcare Professionals employees from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

During the 14th bargaining session between Kaiser Permanente and representatives of NUHW’s Healthcare Professionals’ unit held on February 22, both sides reviewed topics and issues to prepare for a late March meeting that will include a third party, Tom Schneider, JD, PhD, from RAI, a consulting firm that specializes in solving complex organizational challenges. Dr. Schneider’s inclusion was proposed by Kaiser Permanente at the February 8 session to help advance bargaining and NUHW later agreed to this approach.

In other related discussions, NUHW and KP continued conferring on benefits issues. Additionally, the union said it planned to present at the next negotiating session career ladder proposals for certain employee groups, as well as a counterproposal to KP’s ED leave language.

The next Healthcare Professionals’ bargaining is scheduled for March 27.

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Update

February 12, 2019

A message to our Healthcare Professionals employees from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

At the 13th bargaining session held on Friday, February 8, the bargaining representatives for Kaiser Permanente and NUHW discussed several proposals affecting Healthcare Professionals. Included were:

  • The addition and exclusion of specified certifications for Dietitians
  • A review of an NUHW package proposal covering wages, other pay provisions, and an incentive plan and associated metrics; an adjustment to the earned time off program, educational leave, health and retirement benefits and plans
  • The possible reviewing of a career ladder for Outpatient Dietitians.

Additionally, KP rejected NUHW proposals that would have created certain new job classifications and positions.

KP proposed engaging the assistance of a third party, to assist with advancing bargaining. NUHW is expected to respond to this idea next week.

Next bargaining date is scheduled for February 22.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Workers Update

February 12, 2019

A message to our Psych-Social Workers from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

At the 17th bargaining session held today, February 12, Kaiser Permanente proposed a counter to NUHW’s “Staffing and Access” proposals that provided for a new Regional Health Access Committee to develop ways to meet key organizational mental health access objectives. This proposed 12-member group would meet on a quarterly basis and include an equal number of NUHW and KP representatives. The union indicated it would consider the proposal.

Today’s discussions also included the creation of a new job classification, an incentive program, overtime pay, and tuition reimbursement. Negotiations for all these topics are expected to continue at the next bargaining session.

KP proposed engaging the support of a third party to assist with advancing bargaining. NUHW agreed and both sides will take steps to plan how and when this process will occur.

Two bargaining dates have been suggested: March 15, which is tentatively scheduled, and March 26, which is confirmed.

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Update

January 24, 2019

A message to our Healthcare Professionals employees from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

At the 12th negotiating session with NUHW’s Healthcare Professionals held Wednesday, January 23, Kaiser Permanente provided a package proposal intended to help advance the pace of bargaining. Its proposal comprised Voluntary Benefits, Alternate Compensation Program, Regional Professional Practice Committee, and Education Leave – including tuition reimbursement.

While discussions were held about wages, certain benefits, and a performance incentive plan, both sides remain far apart on the specifics of these economic issues. NUHW agreed to review the KP package, and KP stated it was continuing to review the NUHW package proposal presented at the last bargaining session held January 11.

Both sides agreed to February 8 and 22 as next bargaining dates. We appreciate the continued dialogue.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Workers Update

January 18, 2019

A message to our Psych-Social Workers from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

Kaiser Permanente and NUHW concluded their 16th bargaining session on Friday, January 18.

During this meeting, Kaiser Permanente presented a tuition reimbursement proposal for all benefit-eligible employees who’ve been employed for at least 90 days. The benefit allows for a portion of these funds to be used to reimburse employee travel and room/lodging expenses. NUHW offered a counterproposal that KP will review.

Kaiser Permanente also provided a written proposal confirming its January 3 verbal offer to increase the HRA funding levels for each year of service for qualifying employees who retire after January 1, 2020.

Kaiser Permanente said it is not opposed to considering NUHW’s proposals to increase nurse wages and add new psychologist classifications. At the same time the Union was informed that KP would evaluate these proposals in light of the broader, overall economic package, and it would be helpful for Kaiser Permanente to know and understand the Union’s economic priorities.

NUHW presented a new Staffing and Access Committee proposal, which provides for the establishment of Joint Staffing Committees at each medical center. Kaiser Permanente will review the proposal and respond in the future.

Additional bargaining dates are being reviewed by labor and management.

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KPSC-NUHW Healthcare Professionals Update

January 11, 2019

A message to our Healthcare Professionals employees from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

Representatives from Kaiser Permanente and NUHW’s Healthcare Professionals’ unit met for their 11th bargaining session on Friday, January 11.

Kaiser Permanente presented a modification to the Healthcare Professionals’ health reimbursement account for those who retire after January 1, 2020. The offer includes a significant increase from its initial offer.

Wage market data was presented at the session. It showed that Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Professional employees are paid above median market rates.

NUHW and Kaiser Permanente wage proposals continue to be far apart.

In response to an NUHW inquiry about tuition reimbursement rates, Kaiser Permanente committed to reviewing the issue.

The two sides agreed to meet on January 23.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Workers Update

January 4, 2019

A message to our Psych-Social Workers from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

Representatives from Kaiser Permanente and NUHW’s Psych-Social Workers unit met for their 15th bargaining session on Thursday, January 3.

Kaiser Permanente verbally offered a modification to Psych-Social employees’ health reimbursement account for those who retire after January 1, 2020. A written version of this proposal will be presented to the union at the next bargaining session scheduled for January 18.

Market data for wages regarding the psychologist and psychiatric social worker categories was presented to show the competitiveness of Kaiser Permanente’s wage proposals for these employee groups.

Kaiser Permanente is evaluating NUHW’s proposal to establish 2 new psychologist classifications – development psychologists and neuropsychologists. Also under review are proposals for psychiatric RNs. KP said it would respond at the next bargaining session on January 18.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Workers Update

A message to our Psych-Social Workers from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals:

Representatives from Kaiser Permanente and NUHW’s Psych-Social Workers met today, December 20, for their 14th bargaining session. Discussions centered on incentives, staffing and access, and wages.

Kaiser Permanente provided a counterproposal on wages that included a modification to its across the board wage increase. KP also countered NUHW’s “Staffing and Access” proposal received on December 5, suggesting that issues related to access and telehealth be addressed in the Regional Professional Practices Committee with the discussion of those issues to begin shortly after ratification of the contract.

NUHW rejected a modification to KP’s Home Care Incentive Plan offer that was presented. KP will have further internal conversations about the union’s concerns with the plan, and it will also review the union’s counterproposal to the Medical Social Services Incentive Plan.

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for January 3, 2019.

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Welcome Back NUHW Workers

Dear Colleague:

Welcome back to each of you, our valued staff, who were on strike from December 10 to December 15. We also want to express our deep appreciation and thanks to those who placed the needs of our patients first and stayed on the job during the work stoppage.

We look forward to our upcoming bargaining sessions with NUHW, so that we can reach a fair contract that will allow us to collectively move forward and continue to deliver outstanding care to our members and patients every day.

We respect the rights of each employee to work with and support their representative unions. At the same time, each of our employees also has the right not to be pressured or intimidated to participate in a work stoppage. We have strict policies in place to protect employees’ rights to choose whether or not they want to participate in lawful union activity.

As we return to post-strike operations, we understand there may be lingering differences of opinion about the work stoppage and other union-related issues. We ask that you remember we are here to care for members and patients either directly or indirectly and to set aside labor-related differences while we continue contract negotiations going forward. Each employee is expected to follow all applicable policies and rules, including our Principles of Responsibility and the policy against harassment in the work environment, regardless of any differences of opinion about union related issues. We expect and require all employees to treat each other with courtesy and respect and maintain an environment free of harassment. If you believe you have been subject to any of this behavior, you should inform your immediate supervisor and/or contact your Human Resources Department.

We know that you will continue doing what you have already proven you do so well – delivering the high quality care and service our members and patients expect and need to make their lives better.

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Kaiser Permanente Statement About NUHW Strike

As you may know, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, the union representing mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente, has called for a five-day strike this week.

We want our members and patients to know that during this strike, we are working hard to deliver high-quality care and services. All our hospitals and medical offices are open. Anyone in need of urgent mental health or other care will receive the services they require, although some non-urgent services are being rescheduled. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this unnecessary strike.

It’s particularly disheartening that union leadership would call this strike during the holiday season, when many of our patients with mental health needs may be at their most vulnerable.

Alongside our therapists, Kaiser Permanente has been on a path to be the best mental health and addiction care program in the nation. The quality of the care we provide has been recognized by the state’s Office of the Patient Advocate, and by national quality organizations. We don’t think there is any other organization that is doing more than we are to make mental health care better in the United States. We are committed to doing even more, to innovate, to advance care, and to continually seek to improve what we do.

We have been hiring therapists, increasing our staff by 30 percent since 2015 – that’s more than 500 new therapists in California – even though there’s a national shortage. We’ve invested $175 million to expand and improve our mental health care offices, to provide environments that offer our patients convenience, comfort and privacy.

Kaiser Permanente is the highest paying employer for mental health workers in California. The union is demanding wage increases that would be even higher.

Across Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, the majority of psychologists earn $135,000 or more, and the majority of social workers earn $109,000 or more. In Northern California, the majority of psychologists earn $138,000 or more, and the majority of social workers earn $111,000 or more.

The union’s principal demands at the bargaining table have not been about improving care and access. Rather, in addition to seeking even higher wages and benefits, the union is demanding changes to performance standards that would reduce, not increase, the availability of mental health care for our patients.

  • The union wants to reduce the amount of time caregivers spend seeing patients, from an average of 75 percent of time they agreed to in 2015. This would mean fewer appointments for our patients.
  • Even though there is a shortage of caregivers, the union wants to stop Kaiser Permanente from working with highly qualified community therapists to ensure access to care for our patients.
  • Even worse, the union is discouraging community-based caregivers from treating our patients during this strike. In the union’s words, they are trying to “shut down mental health services” this week. This is irresponsible and dangerously insensitive to people in need of care.
  • And in full disclosure: we are seeking no takeaways in our contract proposal. We are offering wage increases which would keep our expert therapists among the best compensated in their profession, and continue to ensure that we attract and retain the most highly skilled professionals.

Despite the union leadership’s tactics, we are committed to responsibly reaching a new contract agreement. We value our therapists and are calling on them to talk to their union leadership and urge them to bargain constructively, and stop putting our patients in the middle of their contract demands.

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KPSC-NUHW Labor Update

December 5, 2018

A message to our therapists from Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals; and Maryanne Malzone, interim senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals, with today’s update on contract negotiations with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) Psych-Social Workers Unit:

Representatives from Kaiser Permanente and NUHW’s Psych-Social Workers met today, December 5, for their 13th bargaining session. During the 5½-hour  meeting, discussions centered on incentives and compensation.

Incentives
Kaiser Permanente reviewed proposed incentive plans for Medical Social Workers and for Home Health employees. NUHW countered these proposals with a request to use the same incentive guidelines from the last contract for the first year of a new contract. Incentive guidelines for the remaining two years of a new contract would be collaboratively developed. Kaiser Permanente will review the union’s offer.

Compensation
NUHW presented a package proposal that included compensation as well as new, first-time proposals for psychiatry staffing and access. The union’s offer included a call for changes from the expired contract in their Health and Welfare, Retirement, Earned Time off, and Retirement Medical Health Benefits. Also proposed was the restoration of the defined benefit plan, reduced copays, medical subsidy, and a health medical account at levels higher than what existed in the recently expired contract signed three years ago.

NUHW proposed for the first year of any new contract revised across-the-board wage increases and a lump-sum payment, including a new wage increase for its Psych RNs. Other compensation topics discussed include a longevity step adjustment and pay differentials.

While the two sides are still far apart on compensation issues, Kaiser Permanente will review and evaluate today’s NUHW counter proposals.

Kaiser Permanente offered three dates for future bargaining sessions: December 17, December 20, and January 3, 2019.

Work Stoppage
Based on the continuation of bargaining and the ongoing exchange of proposals, Kaiser Permanente sees no reason for NUHW’s statewide strike scheduled for December 10 through December 15. It will interrupt patient care and could seriously impact vulnerable lives. Additionally, a strike, combined with the union’s negative claims about Kaiser Permanente’s mental health care, may well discourage patients from seeking the care they need. As health care professionals, your patients need you to be there for them. Patients should not be put in the middle of contract negotiations. Nor should our Psych-Social Workers and Healthcare Professionals be asked to sacrifice their income when continued earnest bargaining is the avenue to reaching a labor agreement.

We approach these negotiations sincerely with a desire to settle and reach a fair agreement. We hope the union will work with us to do the same.

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Workers Labor Update

November 7, 2018

A message from Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources Consulting, National Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals, and Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, with today’s update on contract negotiations with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) Psych-Social Workers Unit. Please print and share the attachment with your Psych-Social Worker employees:

Representatives from Kaiser Permanente and the NUHW Psych-Social Workers unit held their 12th bargaining session today. The meeting, which ran for approximately 5 hours, concerned Kaiser Permanente’s incentive plan and metrics proposal.

This plan affects NUHW-represented employees working in Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, and Medical Social Services. Kaiser Permanente had planned to discuss its incentive and metrics proposal with the Home Health employees unit as well; however, the employer’s representatives for that unit were not available. Talks about this proposal with the Home Health unit will be held at a future meeting.

There continues to be a significant difference between the compensation proposals made by NUHW and Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente looks forward to bargaining in good faith on these differences and advancing the bargaining process to reach a fair agreement.

There were no tentative agreements reached at today’s meeting. December 3 or December 17 were offered as tentative dates for next bargaining.

Contract negotiations to reach a new labor agreement with NUHW began on July 9.

NOTE: The KPSC Labor Update is also available online from any Internet-accessible tablet, or smart phone, tablet, or computer at: kpscalfyi.org

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KPSC-NUHW Psych-Social Workers Labor Update

October 24, 2018

A message from Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals, and Annie Russell, RN, chief operating officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, with today’s update on contract negotiations with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) Psych-Social Workers Unit:

 Representatives from Kaiser Permanente and the NUHW Psych-Social Workers unit held their 11th bargaining session today. Contract negotiations to produce a new labor agreement began on July 9.

Kaiser Permanente presented a counter proposal to NUHW’s compensation offer made on August 31. It presented across-the-board wage increases and annual lump-sum payments that it viewed as competitive with the marketplace. Kaiser Permanente’s counter also included maintaining the provisions established under the 2015 to 2018 Collective Bargaining Agreement for differentials/reimbursements, Health and Welfare, Earned Time Off, Retirement Plans, and the Retiree Medical Program. It also offered to continue the incentive plan award to a maximum of $5000.

Also proposed were specific incentive plans for Medical Social Services and Home Health. Changes to the incentive plan metrics were also proposed.

Union representatives expressed dissatisfaction with the counter offer. Kaiser Permanente looks forward to discussing the differences between the NUHW compensation proposal and Kaiser Permanente’s counter offer at the next bargaining session to be held on November 7.

 

 

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