Kaiser Update

January 10, 2022

Today SEIU-UHW leaders sent Kaiser management a letter in response to the guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health on January 8. We’re urging Kaiser to maintain the existing California policy that requires a negative test and at least five days of isolation after a positive Covid-19 test and a negative test after a direct exposure. Read the letter here. 


Kaiser COVID Update: Mask guides, Exposure Rules, and COVID leave

January 7, 2022

Cases are rising in our hospitals and in our communities. Here are some guidelines for staying safe:Up Your Mask Game!Cloth masks are much less effective against Omicron. Everyone working in the facilities should be provided a fitted N95 mask upon request. See the Kaiser PPE guide for details.   Your Right to Notification of ExposureLast year, SEIU-UHW helped pass AB 654, which gives management 24 hours to notify us if we are exposed to COVID at work by a co-worker. Cal-OSHA also requires they notify us within 72 hours if exposed by a patient. If your manager does not follow these rules, contact a steward.  When Can I Come Back to Work? The rules have evolved, but Kaiser has adopted California’s Dept of Health Guidance:

  • If you tested COVID-19 positive…
    • … and have aysmptomatic or mild but improving symptoms,…
      • …and are boosted, or vaccinated and not yet booster eligible, you can come back 5 days after your positive test with a negative Ag test within the previous 24 hours, or 10 days after positive result without a test. You must wear N95 for 10 days from positive test.
      • …and are unvaccinated, or vaccinated and booster eligible but not boosted, you can come back 7 days after your positive test with a negative Ag test within the previous 24 hours, or 10 days after positive result without a test. You must wear N95 for 10 days from positive test.
    • …and are severely ill,…
      • …you can return when your infection is cleared and a physician has approved – a minimum of 10 days since onset of symptoms and 24 hours with no fever. You must wear N95 for 10 days from positive test.
  • If you were exposed at work or in the community in a single episode…
    • … and are asymptomatic, you can return after a negative test after identification of the exposure. You must test again at 5-7 days, wear N95 for 10 days from exposure, and self-monitor for symptoms twice a day.
  • If you were exposed by someone in your household…
    • … and are asymptomatic, you can return after a negative test after identification of the exposure. You must test again every 3-5 days until the person who exposed you is 10 days from symptom onset and has gone 24 hours with no fever.  You must wear N95 for 10 days from exposure, and self-monitor for symptoms twice a day.

Get Boosted!The booster shot lowers your chances of symptomatic infection, and dramatically reduces chances of severe illness, hospitalization, or death. California healthcare workers are mandated to get the booster shot by Feb 1st. At Kaiser, we have two hours of paid time to get it, and can use 8 hours of leave if we have side effects that prevent us from working (with physician verification). Make sure you get Kaiser your proof of booster by Feb 1!We Need COVID Leave! SEIU-UHW is part of a labor coalition working with the state legislature and governor to re-establish paid COVID leave. Contact your legislator today and tell them that nobody should have to choose between working sick in a pandemic, and getting a pay check.Stay safe and healthy in the new year.


Saturday, November 13

Southern California Kaiser Strike Called Off!

Great news! UNAC/UHCP and other Alliance unions have reached an agreement with Kaiser and we will no longer be having a strike in Southern California. SEIU-UHW members helped make this happen – every one of us who was ready to stand in solidarity with our union co-workers on the picket line. Our commitment to sympathy strike helped get Kaiser to back down on their horrible two-tier wage scheme. This is a huge deal, because you know they would have tried the same with us next. Standing together works!

However, the fight is not over. The Nov. 18 sympathy strike in support of the Local 39 Operating Engineers in northern California is still on!

Kaiser has NOT attempted to settle with Local 39 operating engineers — still pushing the lowest raises in decades that don’t keep up with the cost of living and demanding major changes to their working conditions.

Let’s keep getting ready to support our co-worker engineers on Nov. 18 all across northern California as they fight for a fair contract and stand up against Kaiser’s economic bullying.


Tuesday, November 9

Kaiser Sympathy Strike with UNAC/UHCP

Last night, our SEIU-UHW Kaiser Executive Board voted to call on our SEIU-UHW members in Southern California to support the Alliance of Healthcare Unions in a 24-hour sympathy strike on November 18, 2021 to protest Kaiser’s unfair labor practices and economic bullying.

That same day, we will be joining our Kaiser co-workers in Northern California as they stand in support of Local 39 engineers in a sympathy strike.

As frontline healthcare workers, we are insulted by Kaiser’s demands to devalue caregivers — lowering pay rates and reducing benefits especially as they rake in billions of dollars in profits.

After all we’ve been through in this pandemic, it’s time to say enough is enough. We support the Alliance workers as they resist these cuts.

As SEIU-UHW members, we have an absolute legal right to participate in this sympathy strike. You can find more information in the fact sheet, here.

Stay tuned! We’ll be sharing more information on how to vote for the sympathy strike soon. We must take a stand against what Kaiser is becoming and vote yes to support the sympathy strike.

 


Tuesday, November 3

Kaiser Sympathy Strike with Local 39 Engineers

Last night, our SEIU-UHW Kaiser Executive Board voted to call on our 30,000 SEIU-UHW Kaiser union members in Northern California to support Local 39 engineers in a 24-hour sympathy strike on Nov. 18, 2021 to protest Kaiser’s unfair labor practices and disrespect of healthcare workers.

We know that an injury to one is an injury to all. 

The Kaiser Permanente many people once thought of as the provider of choice in the labor movement is unrecognizable today. Sadly, Kaiser is choosing a different path, engaging in union-busting and economic bullying by forcing the engineer strike to continue for more than seven weeks.

Just like us, the engineers have been on the front lines working to keep our facilities operating safely during the COVID-19 crisis. Kaiser’s position that they (and we) are “overpaid” is demeaning, especially as it continues to rake in billions of dollars in profits and pays dozens of executives million-dollar-salaries.

If we stand by and watch Kaiser commit unfair labor practices to break the engineers’ strike, then we can expect the same when we go to bargain in less than two years. We can expect Kaiser’s executives to push their takeaway agenda: raises that don’t keep up with cost of living, higher co-pays, lower bonuses, elimination of our pension, more outsourcing, and lower pay scales. By taking a stand now, we are showing them that we won’t accept that.

Next week, we will be holding informational meetings at our facilities throughout Northern California and voting on a 24-hour sympathy strike with the Local 39 engineers. You can find more information on the sympathy strike, including a fact sheet and a video message from SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan, here. 

 

 


Wednesday, September 29

Vaccine supplies; Boosters; Overtime at Kaiser — COVID-19 Update

Tomorrow is the final day for healthcare workers to get vaccinated to comply with the California mandate. Here are some current updates for Kaiser employees:

Adequate Supply:  Kaiser says it has ample supply of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those who want to get vaccinated quickly. They also have the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. To make an appointment go to KP.org or call 1-866-454-8855.

Get Started: Kaiser will allow anyone who received their second dose by September 30th to continue working as you go through the vaccination process. Until two weeks after your final dose you will be considered unvaccinated and subject to regular testing requirements.

Waiting on an exemption?: If you have requested an exemption and it is still under review, Kaiser will grant a “provisional approval” and you will be able to work, subject to weekly testing, at least until the final decision on the exemption request.

Exemptions do not mean permanent accommodation:If you have received an exemption, you are authorized to continue working in your position for now. Kaiser will be reviewing the approved exemptions to see if they can be accomodated over the long-term. They have said that certain patient care positions and departments where significant numbers of unvaccinated people are concentrated may be scrutinized to evaluate whether they can safely accommodate unvaccinated employees with exemptions.

Boosters: Booster shots are available to healthcare workers who have gotten the Pfizer vaccines and are are six months out from their second shot. Booster shots are not currently part of the mandate. According to the CDC, side effects from the booster are similar to those of the first two shots.

Mandatory Overtime:  Many of us have been putting in lots of time at work (with little recognition from Kaiser). What should NOT be happening is mandatory overtime, except in extreme urgency and only after consultation with the union. If you are being forced to work overtime, contact your steward.

Take a look at all our recent COVID-19 coverage on our website.

Stay safe and healthy.

 


Thursday, September 16

The staffing shortage at Kaiser

Those of us working with patients every day know that this is true. We are working crazy hours, can’t get a vacation and  feel like we can’t safely care for so many patients with so few staff. We know we need help.

Kaiser has reached out to us about their plan to bring in up to 1,250 registry student nurses, LVNs, medical assistants, radiology techs and lab assistants and others to assist with COVID and flu vaccination, COVID testing and COVID patient care.

We have heard from many members who are eager to get help as the staffing situation is dire at work. But while we welcome the help, we also need to make sure Kaiser is offering opportunities to current employees and trying to hire more staff:

  • We have verified that Kaiser has hundreds of permanent and temporary positions posted across Northern California so that they aren’t just using registry without trying to directly hire.
  • Our contract is clear that Kaiser must offer additional hours to full time, part time and on-call employees before offering them to temporary workers and registry. If you want to work additional hours doing greeting, helping with vaccination and testing, or working in patient care to help with the COVID surge (and have the license necessary to do so), indicate your interest through the process your facility has for signing up for extra hours. If you do that and you aren’t offered extra hours and see registry doing work you can do, contact your steward to file a grievance. 
  • Our new agreement also waives experience requirements for promotions. If you have a medical assistant certificate or an LVN license, you do not need experience to be promoted. Apply for a vacant position you are interested in and contact a steward if you are denied based on experience.

We do need help, but we also need respect. What’s frustrating is that Kaiser is willing to pay big bucks to registry companies and towards hiring bonuses for people who have never set foot in Kaiser, but are unwilling to provide any financial incentives to the people who have been on the front line against COVID every day in Kaiser hospitals and have reached a breaking point!

It’s short sighted, it’s disrespectful and it’s unacceptable. Clearly Kaiser is taking us for granted and it’s time we get their attention. Stay tuned for actions that are being organized in your area. 


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Kaiser thinks we’re overpaid

After working long hours, risking our lives, losing co-workers to COVID and having to fight for safe working conditions, Kaiser is telling healthcare workers that we are overpaid?

Management is currently proposing The Alliance of Healthcare Unions lower wages and benefits for new hires. The Alliance is a group of Kaiser unions (smaller than our Coalition) that includes Southern California RNs and workers in the Inland Empire. Get the details here.  

This is the same two-tier proposal they tried to push on us during our last round of bargaining.

What does this mean for us? If we don’t stand with Alliance Workers against these outrageous cuts then we’ll be next — fighting harder to keep those same benefits in three years when our Agreement is renegotiated.

As healthcare workers we have all worked together to stay safe during these difficult times — we cannot let Kaiser divide us now! Stay tuned for more updates and next steps.

 


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Updates: Incentive Pay

Southern California RCP Extra Shift Incentive

The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region is experiencing a high increase in patient census resulting in an increased demand for staffing. We reached an agreement with KP South to temporarily offer an “Extra Shift Incentive” to the Diagnostic Imaging Department from 7am August 19th, 2021 to 7am October 31st, 2021. Here are some key things to note:

  1. An additional shift is defined as hours worked in the care of patients that is in excess of:
    • 36hrs in 1 work week for 0.9 Full Time Employee
    • 40hrs in 1 work week for 1.0 Full Time Employee
    • 48hrs in 1 work week for 1.05 Full Time Employees that is regularly scheduled for four 12hr shifts in one work week.
    • For part-time and per diem staff: a minimum of 24hrs must first be worked in the work week before being eligible for the incentive.
      ** Nonproductive hours don’t count toward eligibility
  2. If you sign up for and are needed to work additional shifts, for which you are not regularly scheduled, you will be eligible for the following:
    • $100 for each additional 4hr shift
    • $200 for each additional 8hr shift
    • $250 for each additional 10hr shift
    • $300 for each additional 12hr shift
  3. Once your extra shift has been confirmed on the work schedule, you cannot be cancelled.
  4. If you call out sick or take an educational day for one of your regularly scheduled shifts in the same work week where you are scheduled for an extra shift incentive, then you will no longer be eligible for the incentive. You are free to seek approval from your manager to cancel education time so that you may work your regular shift and still be eligible for incentive pay that week.

Southern California RT Extra Shift Incentive

The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region is experiencing a high increase in patient census resulting in an increased demand for staffing. We reached an agreement with KP South to temporarily offer an “Extra Shift Incentive” to Respiratory Care Practitioner from 7am August 16th, 2021 to 7am October 31st, 2021. Here are some key things to note:

  1. An additional shift is defined as hours worked in the care of patients that is in excess of:
    • 36hrs in 1 work week for 0.9 Full Time Employee
    • 40hrs in 1 work week for 1.0 Full Time Employee
    • 48hrs in 1 work week for 1.05 Full Time Employees that is regularly scheduled for four 12hr shifts in one work week.
    • For part-time and per diem staff: a minimum of 24hrs must first be worked in the work week before being eligible for the incentive.
      ** Nonproductive hours don’t count toward eligibility
  2.  If you sign up for and are needed to work additional shifts, for which you are not regularly scheduled, you will be eligible for the following:
    • $100 for each additional 4hr shift
    • $200 for each additional 8hr shift
    • $250 for each additional 10hr shift
    • $300 for each additional 12hr shift
  3. Once your extra shift has been confirmed on the work schedule, you cannot be cancelled.
  4. If you call out sick or take an educational day for one of your regularly scheduled shifts in the same work week where you are scheduled for an extra shift incentive, then you will no longer be eligible for the incentive. You are free to seek approval from your manager to cancel education time so that you may work your regular shift and still be eligible for incentive pay that week.

If you have any questions, reach out to your steward, contract specialist, or rep.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Reminder: state vaccination requirement deadlines

  • August 23 (next Monday) — All healthcare workers must have provided proof of full vaccination or have an approved exemption for medical or religious reasons. Anyone who does not upload their vaccination card to HRConnect by Aug 23, 2021 will be considered unvaccinated and subject to mandatory testing (twice a week for acute care/skilled nursing and once a week elsewhere).
  • September 30 — All healthcare workers must have provided proof of full vaccination or have an approved exemption for medical or religious reasons. Kaiser workers who do not meet these requirements will be placed on a 45 day unpaid leave of absence. Kaiser says they will terminate employees who are not fully vaccinated or granted an exemption by the end of the 45 day leave.

Kaiser Vaccine Policy
Our Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, including SEIU-UHW, has been meeting with Kaiser to get clarity on how the new Kaiser policy and the California Dept of Public Health mandate will be implemented. Click here to get answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Latest news on booster shots
U.S. health officials announced plans to begin giving booster shots for people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines eight months after receiving their second dose. The recommended booster doses are intended to increase protection against the highly contagious Delta variant and will start Sept. 20 with healthcare workers, nursing home residents, and other older Americans. Boosters are not part of the current mandate for healthcare workers but will be available soon.

More information and links to resources for UHW members can be found here.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

COVID-19 EVS Worker Safety Worksheet for meeting with management


Friday, August 13, 2021

COVID-19 UPDATE: Delta variant surge; vaccine rules

With the current surge and new state and employer rules, we will be sending regular updates to help you stay informed.

Delta Variant Surge
The Delta variant is causing a significant surge in cases and hospitalizations across California, rising 54% and 84% respectively over the past two weeks. Alarmingly, we are seeing more children infected and hospitalized than in any previous time in this pandemic.

Safety in our workplaces
The primary mission of SEIU-UHW is the same as it has been throughout the pandemic: keeping our members and all healthcare workers safe. To do that, we need to hold our employers accountable and ensure that we have:

  • Access to necessary PPE for everyone, with a sufficient stockpile to meet surge needs.
  • Safe staffing for the surge to ensure patients are cared for and workers can protect our own health.
  • Strong facility safeguards that protect workers and patients from exposure.
  • Outreach and education about the COVID-19 vaccine. Over 78% of Kaiser workers are vaccinated, but we need continued outreach and education, including help from doctors and incentives for vaccinated workers.
  • Easy and fair access to vaccines. Vaccinations should be offered at all work sites and all shifts, on paid time. Workers should have access to leave time if they have a reaction to the vaccine.

New California state vaccination rules for healthcare workers

  • The new state health department order for visitor safety went into effect on August 11. This new rule requires visitors to be fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of entry. We need to make sure our employers are following these new rules carefully.
  • All healthcare workers will be required to show proof of vaccination by September 30. A digital copy of your vaccination record can be more convenient. To set one up, visit the state site here.

Updates on Kaiser vaccination rules

  • Employees who do not show proof of vaccination by September 30 will be placed on unpaid administrative leave for 45 days (instead of being immediately terminated). If, after 45 days of unpaid leave the employee is still not vaccinated, they will be terminated.
  • Employees who are not yet vaccinated will be given up to 2 hours paid time to get each vaccine dose if they receive the vaccine at a Kaiser facility.
  • Remote workers are included in Kaiser’s new vaccine rules.
  • Additionally, through our Coalition of KP Unions (CKPU), we have requested:
    • Notification in real-time of any denials of religious or medical exemptions
    • Exemptions should be processed outside of local HR and facility management
    • Clarification of who will process exemption requests and how they will be processed

Get the full summary here.

We will continue our conversations with Kaiser management and will provide more information as soon as we get it.


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Southern California LVN Extra Shift Incentive

With the increase in patient census, there is an increased demand for staffing. We came to an agreement with Kaiser to temporarily offer an “Extra Shift Incentive” from 7am August 9th, 2021 to 7am October 31st, 2021. Here are some key things to note:
1. An additional shift is defined as hours worked in the care of patients that is in excess of:

  • 36hrs in 1 work week for 0.9 Full Time Employee
  • 40hrs in 1 work week for 1.0 Full Time Employee
  • 48hrs in 1 work week for 1.05 Full Time Employees that is regularly scheduled for four 12hr shifts in one work week.
  • For part-time and per diem staff: a minimum of 24hrs must first be worked in the work week before being eligible for the incentive.

** Nonproductive hours don’t count toward eligibility

2. If you sign up for and are needed to work additional shifts, for which you are not regularly scheduled, you will be eligible for the following:

  • $100 for each additional 4hr shift
  • $200 for each additional 8hr shift
  • $250 for each additional 10hr shift
  • $300 for each additional 12hr shift

3. Once your extra shift has been confirmed on the work schedule, you cannot be cancelled.

4. If you call out sick or take an educational day for one of your regularly scheduled shifts in the same work week where you are scheduled for an extra shift incentive, then you will no longer be eligible for the incentive. You are free to seek approval from your manager to cancel education time so that you may work your regular shift and still be eligible for incentive pay that week.

If you have any questions, reach out to your steward, contract specialist, or rep.


Thursday, August 5, 2021

New vaccination requirements for healthcare workers

Today, Governor Newsom announced the state will be requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as of September 30 (see the Dept. of Public Health order here). Additionally, to better protect workers and patients, effective August 11, visitors will be required to be fully vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Visitors will need to be fully masked regardless of vaccination status (see that order here).The state mandate comes two days after Kaiser’s announcement that it will be requiring all employees to be vaccinated as of September 30 or apply for a medical or religious exemption.

Throughout the pandemic, SEIU-UHW’s number one priority has been to keep healthcare workers, our families, and our patients safe. That’s why we have consistently encouraged everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been proven safe and highly effective in reducing severe illness from the virus.

The Delta variant is by far the most serious threat we’ve faced and is as easily transmitted as chickenpox. With hospitalizations dramatically rising again and given our unique and indispensable role, we understand why frontline healthcare workers are being required to once again rise to the occasion and be the first line of defense in this unprecedented fight.

What this means for us at Kaiser
There remain many unanswered questions about both the state and Kaiser mandates, but here’s some of what we know about Kaiser’s plan:

  • All employees, contractors, and agency workers will be required to provide proof of vaccination
  • There is a new online system to track vaccination status. You can authorize Kaiser to pull your proof of vaccination from your records or you can upload your own proof of vaccination. Or, you can fill out a medical or religious exemption form on the system.
  • If you have not submitted proof of vaccination by August 23 you will considered unvaccinated and will have to be tested for COVID-19 once or twice a week (depending on where you work)
  • As of September 30 everyone will be required to show proof of vaccination, or an accepted medical or religious exemption, as a condition of employment.

SEIU-UHW and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions have demanded that Kaiser meet with us (see the letter here) to ensure its new policies are administered fairly and that the rights of employees with medical or religious exemptions are fully respected. Currently, 77.8% of Kaiser employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

What’s missing: real recognition for healthcare workers
Unfortunately, what is missing from the state’s announcement is long overdue recognition and appreciation from the governor and the state of California to the very same healthcare workers being called upon to step up to carry the load in hospitals and healthcare facilities across the state.

We call on the governor, the state legislature, Kaiser, and other employers to recognize the sacrifices we are making and our unique and essential role in this pandemic by accompanying this mandate with robust support, including:

  • long overdue bonuses
  • expanded education about the COVID-19 vaccines
  • extended COVID-19 leave
  • other assistance

Monday, July 19, 2021

Major Win for Patient Care Techs

After months of exposing the serious consequences of short staffing at Kaiser Oakland to executives, the media, and the public, Kaiser brought back 15 more patient care tech positions in addition to the six of us they’ve already called back!

In the coming weeks, we will be working with Kaiser management to make sure they place the remaining seven patient care techs back into their positions. We feel confident that they will, and if they don’t, we’ll get back up and fight again!

Our unity across Kaiser has got us here. While we celebrate our progress, the struggle for patient safety and respect for all Kaiser workers continues. 

In Southern California, Kaiser is using the pandemic as an excuse to outsource good local jobs and short-change patients by contracting out call center workers to an out of state company in Georgia. 

Let’s keep fighting and standing together to demand Kaiser stop outsourcing call center jobs out of our state!

Join our picket at Kaiser Woodland Hills
Tues, July 20
10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Kaiser Woodland Hills 5601 Desoto Ave.


Thursday, June 24, 2021

From SoCal to NorCal we say NO to cuts & outsourcing

On Wednesday, June 23, we rallied outside Kaiser Orange County to let Kaiser know they need to stop sending local jobs out of state and respect the essential role call center workers have with patients during this pandemic. Contracting out our call center work to an out of state healthcare company in Georgia will lower quality care, increase wait times for patients, and eliminate good jobs in our community. Click here to view photos from the action.

Next, we’re keeping up the pressure on Kaiser up and down the state at our next action on Wednesday, June 30 at 5 p.m. Kaiser workers across Northern CA are turning up to fight the attempt to layoff 231 frontline workers, including 33 patient care technicians in Oakland.

Rally & Protest at Kaiser Headquarters
Wednesday, June 30 at 5:00 p.m – 7:00 p.m.
Ordway Building, 1 Kaiser Plaza, Oakland, CA
Click here to RSVP

Join us as we set up 24 hospital beds in front of Kaiser’s corporate headquarters to expose their lack of commitment to patient care, and how Kaiser’s behavior is hurting workers and patients.


Friday, June 18, 2021

Shining a light on Kaiser’s cuts

On Thursday, June 17, we held a candlelight vigil for patient care outside Kaiser Oakland. Together in our union, we have built support from elected leaders, clergy and patients to fight back against Kaiser’s reckless cuts.

 


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Regional Reduction In Force Bargaining Tables

Business Representatives – Grade 6 – Central Patient Financial Operations

We are finalizing the agreement for the rebid plan for the 5 new Grade 7 positions and the training for those going into a new position. All 5 affected Grade 6 Business Representatives will maintain a position.

Member Services – Health Plan Representatives & Sr. Health Plan Representatives

Kaiser will be closing 30 of 52 member services locations. Kaiser has agreed to 47 positions for member services. We are finalizing the position locations available to all affected Health Plan Representatives and Sr. Health Plan Representatives that are within 45 miles of their current work location. We are also negotiating virtual work for those who don’t have a location available within 45 miles and post bargaining check-ins after the 22 remaining member services locations re-open to monitor work volumes and equitable distribution. Each affected member will be contacted to review their location options. This will result in every affected member having a position.

Patient Care Technicians – Oakland Medical Center

Kaiser states they have had a decrease in the need for PCT sitters over the last 2 years and this is their only reasoning for the redeployments of 33 PCT’s. The bargaining team continues to bring recent examples of the current staffing shortages and delays in patient care resulting from the current staffing problems. Because of Kaiser’s failure to reverse this or agree to a rebid, over 50 PCT’s, nurses and other classifications marched on the COO of Kaiser Oakland last Thursday before our last bargaining meeting. The group presented a petition demanding they stop the redeployments which was signed by even more members, detailing current struggles with providing quality patient care because of short staffing and presenting multiple letters from elected officials including Senator Skinner pointing out how detrimental these redeployments would be to their community.

The next action will be a Candlelight Vigil at Kaiser Oakland Medical Center on Thursday, June 17 at 7:30 pm – 9 pm.

Another action will occur on Wednesday, June 30 in front of Kaiser headquarters in Oakland — details to come.

Admitting/Bed Control – Admitting Representatives & Sr. Admitting Representatives

Kaiser plans to stop Admitting Services on the night shift and evening shift after 5 pm at all Northern California facilities and transfer that work to the day shift. The bargaining team continues to identify multiple workflow problems and various types of admissions that Kaiser still doesn’t have a plan to cover when they no longer have admitting representatives on the evening and night shifts. They also have been unable to articulate how the day shift will manage the increase in work. The bargaining team has brought forward back fill and daily staffing issues and work volumes that are currently unmanageable with both evening and night shifts. The bargaining team is finalizing a comprehensive proposal for each affected facility that would cover all the operational needs for admission. Affected members are ready to organize additional facility actions.

Patient Transportation – Support Service Representatives Diablo 

Kaiser plans to eliminate the SSR’s who do transport dispatching due to the implementation of health connect technology that transporters can utilize to book their patient transport calls directly — some facilities already have this implemented. It’s been identified that several of the SSR’s originally applied for and interviewed for staffing office jobs and were inappropriately assigned as dispatcher for the transport department. Support Services Representative is the appropriate classification per their job descriptions for the staffing office and we are in the process of identifying all positions in the staffing offices that were never reposted. The bargaining team is in the process of drafting an appropriate proposal for the Support Services Representatives.

Home Health/Hospice – Department Secretary, Departmental Clerk, Home Health Clerk

Kaiser has only met once with us and presented a plan to create regional HUBS for intake and billing and would have employees work remotely servicing all Northern California. The scheduling clerks would continue to do scheduling locally out of each facility. We have sent several emails with meeting availability and Kaiser has recently replied that they are unable to meet. We have notified Kaiser that their continued refusal to meet constitutes bargaining in bad faith and that the July 2 redeployment date should be canceled.

HIM Transcription – Medical Secretary, Sr Medical Secretary

Kaiser is stating that transcription work has regularly declined over the past 10+ years, and a small percentage of doctors are using transcription because of technology advancements with Health Connect and dictation. Since all affected Medical Secretaries currently work from home and are regional employees. We are identifying all the departments and vacancies where Medical Secretaries are currently short staffed and/or operational needed.

Support Services – Nutrition – Department Secretary Sr, Nutrition Clerk
Support Services – Support Service Representative – Surgery Scheduling
Support Services – Department Secretaries  

Kaiser states that these positions are no longer needed due to technology implementation and upgrades to their “Service Now” systems for engineering and conference room scheduling. The system generates a direct work order to engineering which no longer requires opening and closing of work orders in the department requesting the work and upgrades to their conference room scheduling software that allows direct booking of conference rooms by all users 24 hours a day. We also identified that some of the department secretaries share work across Support Services despite being identified as working in only one department.  We are currently identifying all open and unposted vacancies for Department Secretaries in the affected facilities for  support services.

Support Services – Staff Assistants – Discharge planning

Kaiser presented their reasoning for redeployment  as redistribution of the work for efficiency purpose and went on to describe the work being reassigned to the RN discharge planners and the 2 remaining Staff Assistants. Although classified as Staff Assistants, they are doing the work of Patient Care Coordinator Assistants. Kaiser has admitted that this work will still exist but they cannot provide workflows or any explanation as to how this work will be done equitably with the remaining 2 Staff Assistant’s. Their only plan is to have the RN Patient Care Coordinators do it as well. We are drafting a proposal which would cover the remaining operational needs.

Licensed Vocational Nurse – Congestive Heart failure

The CHF department has been closed for at least 2 years and has been doing discharge planning outreach calls for complex patients. Information requested to eliminate this position and meet Wednesday, June 16.


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.