The important frontline healthcare employees at Kaiser Permanente deserve extra from their firm. These unionized employees have given their all throughout the pandemic to supply the very best care potential to their sufferers. But Kaiser Permanente has taken an rigid and shameful place in the direction of their workers.
Over the previous couple of months, labor organizations which might be a part of the Alliance of Health Care Unions have been negotiating new nationwide and native agreements with Kaiser to no avail. UFCW Native 135 is a part of the alliance, in addition to United Nurses Association of California/Union of Health Care Professionals, United Steelworkers, and others.
UFCW Local 135 represents pharmacy and laboratory employees, together with pharmacy techs, pharmacy assistants, medical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians, and others.
The nationwide settlement with Kaiser expired on Sept. 30, and the native agreements for pharmacy and lab expire Nov. 1 and Feb. 1, respectively.
Throughout bargaining, Kaiser supplied a measly 1% increase for a complete of three% over three years. Not sufficient to maintain up with the price of residing in San Diego.
As well as, they need to institute a two-tiered wage system for brand new hires. New hires would get much less advantages and pay, placing a goal on the backs of grandfathered hires. This can create conditions the place newly employed employees could obtain extra hours than ones with seniority as a result of they’re less expensive.
It additionally fuels office resentment if some employees get extra for doing the identical work. A two-tiered wage system additionally has the potential to underfund the pension if new hires are paying much less into it.
However that isn’t the entire unjust bargaining carried out by Kaiser Permanente. In addition they need to reduce the efficiency sharing plan payouts for brand new hires and cut back 401(okay) contributions for brand new hires in areas that meet sharing plan monetary targets. The corporate rejected staffing and affected person care suggestions; rejected constant wage scales throughout Southern California; proposed decrease wages in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Kern Counties; rejected establishing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a constant vacation all through Kaiser services; and rejected establishing a nonprofit devoted to coaching underrepresented healthcare employees.
In addition they failed to reply to lots of the union alliance’s proposals, together with pupil mortgage reimbursement help; absolutely funding Ben Hudnall Memorial Trust advantages; recognizing Juneteenth as a paid vacation; standardizing pension profit credit; elevating below-standard advantages; offering assist for employees making use of for U.S. citizenship; settling truthful contracts with new alliance members; supporting the Labor Administration Belief; and integrating incapacity administration.
Kaiser’s inequitable bargaining has pushed their unionized employees to the brink of a piece stoppage. UNAC/UHCP and the Steelworkers of Local 7600 have already taken strike votes and, this week and subsequent, UFCW Locals from all through Southern California can be conducting strike votes as properly.
The corporate’s intransigence on the negotiating desk has jeopardized not solely the earnings and advantages of their Most worthy belongings, but in addition affected person care. By not prioritizing their workforce, Kaiser’s sufferers stand to lose probably the most.
The unionized employees at Kaiser Permanente have put their lives on the road throughout the pandemic. They’ve offered the absolute best care they usually solely need to be rewarded with the very best jobs, one thing Kaiser guarantees with their motto “Greatest Jobs, Greatest Care.”
As these employees take their future in their very own arms, we wish to name upon the neighborhood to face in solidarity with them. If a strike is allowed and referred to as, please select to face with them. They aren’t solely preventing for themselves, they’re additionally preventing on behalf of their sufferers and neighborhood.
Todd Walters is president and Grant Tom is secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 135. The native has a membership of over 12,000 employees all through San Diego and Imperial Counties in numerous fields together with grocery and retail; well being, pharmacy and dental; meat and sugar processing; casinos; and hashish.