Kaiser Campaign Updates

Kaiser Campaign Updates

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Update on Kaiser Position Eliminations

In the months since Kaiser informed our union of their intent to eliminate the jobs of 231 Northern California SEIU-UHW members, our union has been busy connecting with impacted members, challenging Kaiser on their process and aggressively negotiating over the decision and impact. Bargaining teams were established that include representatives from all the impacted groups. Already, demanding information, asking tough questions and advocating alternatives has led to results:

  • Instead of laying off 5 Business Representatives in Patient Financial Operations, Kaiser will be upgrading 5 positions that will allow for promotional opportunities in the department and for all five impacted workers to maintain a position.
  • Kaiser initially appeared to be eliminating Members Services in Northern California and now is saying they are reducing the work locations from 52 to 22, while maintaining positions for all 42 impacted workers in the department. We are negotiating over the process to reassign work locations, including the potential for remote work opportunities.  

While these tables are going in the right direction, others are more concerning:

  • Kaiser plans to stop Admitting Services after 5pm and transfer the work to the day shift. Kaiser’s representatives at the table have been unprepared and unable to answer basic questions about how the work related to evening and night admissions will work. Our team is committed to getting answers and will be escalating our tactics shortly if we don’t receive them.
  • Kaiser is singling out Kaiser Oakland for drastic cuts to frontline patient care with their plan to eliminate the jobs of 33 patient care technicians (PCTs). The PCTs are taking action by rallying the Oakland community against this reduction in care, have gotten media attention and continue to get incredible support from elected and community leaders. Their campaign to shine the spotlight on these critical care cutbacks is just beginning.

In addition to organizing and bargaining to address specific situations, our union is working to support all of the impacted workers by:

  • Connecting impacted workers with our SEIU-UHW Education Fund to learn about career advancement and retraining opportunities.
  • Negotiating an early retirement package for those who may be considering retirement in the near future.  
  • Preparing for rigorous enforcement of our Employment and Income Security Agreement (EISA) to ensure that every single impacted employee who wants to continue to work at Kaiser is able to do so in a comparable position.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Working together to keep our pharmacy co-pays low 

Members of the Coalition of KP Unions are uniting to show our strength by working together to keep prescription co-pays low! In our national agreement with Kaiser, we bargained to increase use of prescriptions by mail in order to maintain our current co-pays. If we reach the goal of 40% of Coalition members utilizing prescriptions by mail, our co-pays will remain the same through 2023. 

It is very convenient to do mail order and you save money by getting three months of prescriptions for the price of two. 

Improving Our Attendance To Secure Our Next PSP

With our PSP this year, Kaiser wrongly penalized caregivers for missing days due to COVID-related absences. While we are still fighting that, we are also pushing forward to get our maximum payout next year in our PSP. 

Here’s how we do this: 15% of our PSP is dependent on our collective ability to improve our attendance. If we all do 1/2 day less sick leave in the 2nd half of this year than we did last year during the height of the pandemic, we can get our maximum PSP next year. 

Did you know you can turn unused sick leave into cash? 

If you have one year’s worth in the bank, you can cash out 10 days a year (at 75% value). That’s an extra week and a half of pay! Or, if you plan on being here till retirement, you can convert 80% of your unused sick leave into your Health Retirement Account to pay out of pocket healthcare costs when you retire. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Kaiser Oakland Healthcare Workers Speak Out 

On Tuesday, May 18, healthcare workers spoke out against Kaiser Permanente’s announcement to eliminate 231 caregiver positions, including 33 patient care techs from Kaiser Oakland. Caregivers were joined by Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the Alameda Labor Council Elizabeth Ortega-Toro who condemned Kaiser’s push to layoff essential healthcare workers after recording a net income of $6.4 billion in 2020 and $2 billion so far in 2021. Other elected and community leaders who have joined in support include:  

Congresswoman Barbara Lee
State Senator Nancy Skinner
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
Alameda County Supervisor Board President Keith Carson
Alameda County Supervisor Board Vice President Nate Miley
Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan
Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas
Oakland City Council President pro tem Sheng Thao
Alameda Vice Mayor Malia Vella
Alameda Unified School District Board President Mia Bonta

Friday, April 30, 2021

Kaiser Jeopardizes Patient Care in a Pandemic

On Thursday, April 29 at 4:44 pm SEIU-UHW was given a 60-day notice from Kaiser of their intent to eliminate 231 positions including a group of frontline, bedside caregivers called “Patient Care Technicians” in Oakland, transporters in Walnut Creek/Antioch, Home Health administrative staff at various facilities and a other healthcare workers critical to ensuring public safety and patient health in the pandemic.

SEIU-UHW staff, contract specialists and stewards reached out to all of the impacted members on Friday, April 30 to give them a heads up, tell them about the process and their rights, assign them a steward to accompany throughout this process, update contact information, and assure them of our support.

What happens next in the formal process?

In addition to sharing our stories with patients, the community and press so that everyone around our Kaiser facilities understands what this means, we have a formal process that Kaiser management must follow, working with SEIU-UHW members to ensure alternatives:

  • The union and Kaiser will meet to negotiate alternatives to layoffs. For at least 60 days, Kaiser will negotiate with us over these positions. We will hear their explanation for the reasoning, and we’ll push for alternatives. In the past, we have successfully negotiated enhanced early retirement packages for people who may be close to retirement or voluntary severance packages for people who might have been considering leaving anyway.
  • If there are other options presented, the affected employees will be contacted with their options. After the 60-day period, if there are still people in positions being eliminated, the Employment Income Security Agreement (EISA) will go into effect. For at least one year, impacted employees will have their employment and income protected. During that time, we will work jointly to place people into comparable jobs and train them for new opportunities.

Our goal is that nobody has to leave Kaiser employment unless they choose to. We have been successful in achieving that goal multiple times in the past with groups of equivalent and even larger numbers of impacted workers. Our contract is strong and it works to protect us.

For SEIU-UHW members who have questions, please reach out to your steward or contract specialist.

The complete EISA agreement, Article XVI of our Local Agreement which outlines how this process works, and other contractual resources about our rights and terms of employment can be found here.