National Agreement Between Kaiser Permanente and Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions Ratified

New, four-year agreement positions Kaiser Permanente for a sustainable future

OAKLAND, CA (Nov., 1, 2019) – A new, four-year collective bargaining agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions is in effect through September 30, 2023. Ratified by the employees represented by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, the agreement covers more than 84,000 unionized Kaiser Permanente health care employees across the country.

The agreement provides annual pay increases and maintains excellent employee health and retirement benefits while also creating a program to reduce the national shortage of health care workers. It positions Kaiser Permanente — including its members, employees and local communities — for a sustainable future as the organization works to make its integrated model of high-quality care even more affordable and accessible in all its regions.

“This agreement will help to keep Kaiser Permanente a great place to work for all and is aligned with our commitment to greater affordability for our members and customers,” said Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president and interim chief human resources officer, Kaiser Permanente. “We are grateful for our skilled and compassionate employees who are dedicated to our members, patients, communities and each other.”

Kaiser Permanente and Coalition negotiators reached a tentative agreement on September 25, following nearly five months of active bargaining that began in April 2019. The agreement was ratified by union members across Kaiser Permanente over the course of October.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions includes 5 locals belonging to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, Local 49, Local 105, Local 121RN, and Local 1199NW); 5 locals belonging to the Office and Professional Employees International Union (Local 2, Local 8, Local 29, Local 30, and Local 50/Hawaii Nurses Association); and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 20.

Kaiser Permanente is proud of its long history with labor. In total, 40 union locals, which belong to 16 international unions, represent more than 160,000 Kaiser Permanente employees. Over the past few years Kaiser Permanente also has reached local and national agreements with unions outside of the Coalition, including: California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees), UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union), USW (United Steelworkers of America), IBT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters), the Kaiser Permanente Nurse Anesthetists Association, IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers), OFNHP (Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals), ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union), and UNITE HERE.

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Tentative Agreement Reached with Coalition

September 25, 2019

Four-year agreement between Kaiser Permanente and Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions would cover 85,000 employees; strike threat withdrawn.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions have reached a tentative agreement on a national, 4-year collective bargaining agreement that covers 85,000 unionized Kaiser Permanente health care workers in 11 local unions.

The tentative agreement provides annual pay increases and maintains excellent employee benefits while also creating a program to reduce the national shortage of health care workers. If ratified, the agreement will position Kaiser Permanente — including its members, employees, and local communities — for a sustainable future as the organization works to make its high-quality, integrated model of care even more affordable and accessible in all its regions.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions comprises 11 local unions from 3 international unions. It includes IFPTE (International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers) Local 20, OPEIU (Office and Professional Employees International Union) Local 29, OPEIU Local 30, OPEIU Local 50/Hawaii Nurses Association, OPEIU Local 2, OPEIU Local 8, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 49, SEIU-UHW (SEIU United Healthcare Workers West), SEIU Local 121RN, SEIU Local 105 and SEIU 1199NW.

“We greatly respect and value our employees who deliver on our mission every day,” said Arlene Peasnall, interim chief human resources officer, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals. “This agreement is a testament to the dedication, compassion, and skill those employees bring to work every day and demonstrates that Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition have a shared commitment to affordability for our members.

“Kaiser Permanente has an unparalleled track record of working constructively with labor to solve problems together to improve the care and service offered to our members and patients,” Peasnall added. “We may disagree at times, but we have always been able to work through our challenges to align on common goals.”

Agreement details

The new tentative agreement includes:

  • Solid wage increases: Guaranteed wage increases each year through 2023 in Northern and Southern California, Colorado, Hawaii, the Mid-Atlantic States (northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C.), Northwest (Oregon and southwest Washington), and Washington regions.
  • Opportunities for career growth: Kaiser Permanente employees will have the opportunity to move into new roles in a training capacity after pursuing the education needed for the job, at an adjusted Step 1 pay scale; they are guaranteed they will not make less than in their former position. Once experience requirements are met, they will continue in the normal steps for the position at the full rate.
  • Workforce development fund: A new multimillion-dollar fund will be created to provide educational opportunities for Californians who may not otherwise be able to pursue a career in health care.
  • Retirement security: The agreement preserves the existing defined benefit pension plan along with other strong retirement benefits.
  • Outsourcing: The parties have agreed to a list of jobs that will not be outsourced or subcontracted for the life of the contract.
  • Career mobility: The agreement offers an additional $250 for employee travel as part of the tuition reimbursement program, raising the total to $750.
  • Affordable health care: The agreement includes a pharmacy utilization approach that incents employees to utilize the more efficient mail-order prescription service.

The tentative agreement was reached by Kaiser Permanente and Coalition negotiators on September 24, following nearly 5 months of active bargaining that began in April 2019. It will now go to Coalition union members for ratification, where voting is expected to be completed by the end of October.

If ratified, the contract will have an effective date of October 1, 2019, and will cover more than 85,000 health care employees: 67,000 in California; 8,300 in Oregon and Washington; 3,100 in Colorado; 5,000 in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia; and 1,000 in Hawaii. Coalition employees represent hundreds of job classifications, from optometrists and pharmacists to maintenance and service workers.

About Kaiser Permanente

About Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.

Contact

Marc Brown
Marc.T.Brown@kp.org
510-271-6328

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2019 Coalition Bargaining Update

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 negotiators crafting a new National Agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions set to work developing joint options as the fourth bargaining session got underway on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Los Angeles.

The Work of the Future subgroup worked on 3 options that may become recommendations, and if so, they will move to the full 120-member Common Issues Committee for consideration. One of the key joint interests for the subgroup is to find ways to make it easier for current Kaiser Permanente employees to move into new, open, lateral, or advanced positions before outside applicants, and these options addressed that issue.

The process was both painstaking and collaborative, with productive give and take — and a round of applause at the end of the day acknowledging the subgroup’s efforts.

Nakia Linzie-Shavers, SEIU-UHW, and Bill Gilmyers, Northern California workforce planning director, hold a lively conversation in the Work of the Future subgroup.

The other 2 subgroups, Commitment to Partnership and Operational Effectiveness, also made steady progress.

Partnership subgroup members worked on 2 options they identified as mutual. The first one is to revitalize Labor Management Partnership education and training. The group has discussed recommending a renewed focus on training that would target managers and union-represented employees and feature a standardized curriculum about the principles and responsibilities of partnership, with an eye toward improving performance outcomes.

The group’s second joint option addresses the issue resolution and problemsolving process and calls for quickly resolving issues at the lowest possible level, with clear steps for escalation at the local, regional, and national levels.

In the Operational Effectiveness subgroup, 2 of the identified joint interests are eliminating workplace injuries and how to forecast the care needs of the patients of the future. Tuesday afternoon, the subgroup moved on to discuss staffing issues.

Another group of senior management and union leaders is working on the economic details of a potential agreement.

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.

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Please do not include any medical, personal, or confidential information in your comment. Conversation is strongly encouraged; however, Kaiser Permanente reserves the right to moderate comments as necessary to prevent medical, personal, and confidential information from being posted on this website. In addition, Kaiser Permanente will remove all spam, personal attacks, profanity, and off topic commentary. Finally, we reserve the right to change the posting guidelines at any time, at our sole discretion.

2019 Coalition Bargaining Update

Dennis Dabney
senior vice president, National Labor Relations and the Office of Labor Management Partnership

Jim Pruitt
vice president, Labor Management Partnership and Labor Relations, The Permanente Federation

The tempo of bargaining with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions picked up this week in Los Angeles, with Kaiser Permanente executives sharing an overview of KP’s economic proposal with the 120 management and union members of the Common Issues Committee.

The financial discussion took place during the Tuesday, June 18, morning session. It included a period where members of the CIC, the negotiating body for these bargaining sessions, could raise questions and concerns — and they did, speaking passionately about the need to approach our Labor Management Partnership with fresh ideas and energy.

The KP proposal includes:

  • Pay increases in every year of the contract.
  • For current employees, beginning January 1, 2021, we’re proposing to change the copayment schedule for medical benefits to include a $20 copay for office visits.
  • For future employees, we’re proposing an updated package of benefits that better aligns with the market.

Kaiser Permanente’s proposal is designed to balance 2 imperatives: We want to offer a market-leading package of pay and benefits to attract and retain the best people in health care — while ensuring we can deliver high-quality, affordable health care to our members and patients.

Mary Beth Kelner, regional director for The Permanente Medical Group, takes in a moment during the Partnership subgroup meeting.

The bargaining team members broke into their 3 subgroups and continued to work Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, using the interest-based process:

  • The Work of the Future subgroup heard presentations from the 2 LMP-supported education trusts. The presentations sparked ideas that could serve as the basis to lead the parties to a mutual interest.
  • The Operational Effectiveness and Quality Care Delivery subgroup has jointly developed 2 deliverables: How to eliminate workplace injuries; and how to forecast and outline the care needs of patients for the future.
  • In the Commitment to Partnership subgroup, the focus was on how to keep KP on the cutting edge of providing innovative care to our members. Flexibility in responding to member needs while supporting employee work-life balance and early partnership on major technological and other change projects were discussed.

For the latest bargaining updates and other materials for managers, please visit about.kp.org/together. The bargaining session will conclude Thursday, June 20.

To see more images of partnership in action, please visit our Partnership Photo Gallery.

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Please do not include any medical, personal, or confidential information in your comment. Conversation is strongly encouraged; however, Kaiser Permanente reserves the right to moderate comments as necessary to prevent medical, personal, and confidential information from being posted on this website. In addition, Kaiser Permanente will remove all spam, personal attacks, profanity, and off topic commentary. Finally, we reserve the right to change the posting guidelines at any time, at our sole discretion.

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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Please do not include any medical, personal, or confidential information in your comment. Conversation is strongly encouraged; however, Kaiser Permanente reserves the right to moderate comments as necessary to prevent medical, personal, and confidential information from being posted on this website. In addition, Kaiser Permanente will remove all spam, personal attacks, profanity, and off topic commentary. Finally, we reserve the right to change the posting guidelines at any time, at our sole discretion.

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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Please do not include any medical, personal, or confidential information in your comment. Conversation is strongly encouraged; however, Kaiser Permanente reserves the right to moderate comments as necessary to prevent medical, personal, and confidential information from being posted on this website. In addition, Kaiser Permanente will remove all spam, personal attacks, profanity, and off topic commentary. Finally, we reserve the right to change the posting guidelines at any time, at our sole discretion.

Positive tone prevails at first KP-Coalition bargaining session

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:

Energized by the work at hand, management and union negotiators wrapped up the first Kaiser Permanente-Coalition bargaining session in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 16.

In a lively exercise, the subgroup working on how to strengthen our Labor Management Partnership “voted” with their feet to identify the issues they felt most strongly about. The management and union bargaining team members, joined by union observers, stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of large posters with options such as education and training, early engagement of labor in decision making, and other topics.

Union representatives enjoy a lighthearted moment during a break in bargaining.

Similar work to develop common interests was unfolding in the Work of the Future subgroup and in the subgroup focused on improving organizational performance while delivering high-quality care.

“I’m invigorated,” said Monica Morris, director of National Workforce Planning and Development and the Work of the Future management co-lead. That subgroup is developing solutions that will help us prepare for how technology is reshaping jobs.

“We’ve made some great progress,” added Meg Niemi, president of SEIU Local 49 in the Northwest and the subgroup’s union co-lead.

Maureen Meehan-Golonka, of OPEIU Local 50, Hawaii Nurses Association (left), and Linda Bridges, of OPEIU Local 29 in Northern California, share a laugh during the Operations and Quality Care subgroup.

At the next session, on May 28-29, negotiators will start to craft solutions, based on their shared interests, to reach a strong National Agreement that will keep KP a best place to work and to help the organization and our union members advance Kaiser Permanente’s mission.

We will keep you informed as bargaining proceeds.

Tami Lamp, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Kaiser Permanente, teams up with Dave Regan, SEIU-UHW president, at a meeting of the Partnership subgroup.
Rudy Collins (center), regional director for The Permanente Medical Group from Northern California, delivers a powerful message to the bargaining team. With him are Donna Young (left), a teleservice representative from Northern California, and Kristie Chorny (right), director of Labor Relations and Employee Relations for Hawaii.

A printable version of this update is available.

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Please do not include any medical, personal, or confidential information in your comment. Conversation is strongly encouraged; however, Kaiser Permanente reserves the right to moderate comments as necessary to prevent medical, personal, and confidential information from being posted on this website. In addition, Kaiser Permanente will remove all spam, personal attacks, profanity, and off topic commentary. Finally, we reserve the right to change the posting guidelines at any time, at our sole discretion.

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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Please do not include any medical, personal, or confidential information in your comment. Conversation is strongly encouraged; however, Kaiser Permanente reserves the right to moderate comments as necessary to prevent medical, personal, and confidential information from being posted on this website. In addition, Kaiser Permanente will remove all spam, personal attacks, profanity, and off topic commentary. Finally, we reserve the right to change the posting guidelines at any time, at our sole discretion.