OAKLAND, Calif. – Healthcare workers condemned healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente’s plans announced today to outsource the jobs of 60 gardeners at its facilities across Northern California, saying corporate greed is driving a string of recent attacks on blue collar workers.
“This announcement is just the latest example of how much Kaiser Permanente has drifted from its slogan of helping the community ‘thrive,’ because when it comes down to it, profits are the only thing that seem to matter to them,” said Asa Bowman, a gardener at Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek, who is slated to lose her job. “If Kaiser truly cared about doing right by the community, it would protect good paying jobs with benefits – especially since Kaiser’s profits are skyrocketing.”
In a Sept. 17 letter to SEIU-United Healthcare Workers’ West, the gardeners’ union, Kaiser Permanente said it “is considering transitioning our in-house landscaping operations to an external vendor that provides a comprehensive program for campus landscaping maintenance and management.” Under the plan, the gardeners would lose their jobs and an outside company would hire replacement workers who are paid less and receive fewer benefits than current employees.
Workers are affected at facilities in the following 16 cities: Antioch; Fremont; Manteca; Modesto; Oakland; Richmond; San Francisco; San Jose; San Leandro; San Rafael; Santa Clara; Santa Rosa; Stockton; Vacaville; Vallejo; and Walnut Creek.
The proposal comes despite Kaiser Permanente reporting reserves of $29 billion and profits being up 22 percent from 2016 to 2017. Kaiser is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit organization, meaning it does not pay income taxes on its earnings or property taxes on its buildings spread across the United States.
Other cuts from Kaiser announced in the last year in California include:
- In San Francisco, it plans to outsource dozens of licensed vocational nurses, parking attendant employees, shuttle drivers, and cashiers;
- In Oakland and Livermore, the company plans to outsource 94 workers at pharmacy warehouses;
- In Los Angeles, it plans to relocate 272 call center workers to other areas of the state, where the employees would be paid $2 less per hour; and
- In Downey, it plans to outsource 70 pharmacy warehouse workers.
More than 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California are members of SEIU-UHW. They along with 30,000 other Kaiser employees nationwide comprise the Coalition of Kaiser Unions, whose national agreement with Kaiser expires Sept. 30, 2018.