A Coalition Bargaining update from:
Dennis Dabney – senior vice president, National Labor Relations and the Office of Labor Management Partnership, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan & Hospitals
Jim Pruitt – vice president, Labor Management Partnership and Labor Relations, The Permanente Federation
The fourth bargaining session between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions wrapped up on Thursday, July 11, with a frank, open discussion among the 120-member Common Issues Committee and dozens of union observers.
The parties agreed top leaders will continue talking and working toward a mutually beneficial agreement.
Union and management leaders spoke passionately and pointedly about core Labor Management Partnership and Kaiser Permanente interests. Labor and management reviewed key concerns, and management referenced 4 options it has offered that address those concerns and provide for long-term sustainability.
Highlights of the most recent management offer that could become the basis of a framework for resolving these negotiations include:
- 3% increases each year for 4 years in California, in addition to standard step increases; there are also across-the-board increases for the regions outside California. This package adds steps to wage scales, maintaining one scale while allowing the elimination of experience requirements.
- Prescriptions purchased in person will have a $10 copay; mail-order prescriptions continue to have a $5 copay. This is the only benefit change.
- Maintains $5 copay for office visits. There are no changes to retirement benefits. Additional language addresses concerns about outsourcing.
Three other options have also been discussed:
- A 3-year package that models the agreement reached with the Alliance of Health Care Unions
- A 4-year package customized specifically for the Coalition priorities, having a similar overall value to the Alliance package
- A 5-year package that addresses Coalition priorities and those important to management to ensure long-term sustainability
Most important, it is clear there is a great deal of common ground between the parties.
Earlier in the 3-day session, the 3 subgroups finalized their joint recommendations, which are ready to be presented to the CIC for consideration at a future, and as yet unscheduled, bargaining session.
“At the end of the day, there will be a contract,” said Janet Liang, regional president of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. “My hope is that we continue to engage in the spirit of partnership and collaboration.”
“Let’s move forward together,” said Ron Ruggiero, the president of SEIU Local 105 in Colorado.
For the latest bargaining updates and other materials for managers, please visit about.kp.org/together.
To see more images of partnership in action, please visit our Partnership photo gallery.