[March 11, 2019] OAKLAND, Calif. – Despite amassing more than $31 billion in reserves and paying numerous executives million-dollar salaries, healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente announced March 8 that it will eliminate 60 full-time gardening jobs at several facilities across Northern California, leaving families devastated.
“I don’t know how I will be able to support my family when my job is eliminated,” said Robert Albino, a Kaiser gardener for 30 years in Richmond. “I know Kaiser executives with their million-dollar salaries don’t have to worry about putting food on the table or car repairs or buying clothes for their children, but my co-workers and I worry about these things every day. Shame on them for doing this to good people and good families.”
Under the plan, the gardeners would lose their jobs as soon as May 11 and an outside company would oversee an entirely new workforce that is paid less and receives fewer benefits than current Kaiser employees. Nearly 100 federal, state and local elected officials in California have sent letters to Kaiser opposing the corporation’s outsourcing plans.
“We have a lot of pride in our work and Kaiser acknowledges we do a great job,” Albino said, “so why would they do this to us? Why would they shatter so many lives for so little gain?”
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 layoffs come despite Kaiser Permanente reporting reserves of $31.5 billion, and profits of $6.3 billion over the last two years. Kaiser is registered as a non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service, meaning it does not have to pay income taxes on its earnings or property taxes on its buildings throughout the United States. In addition to Kaiser’s CEO receiving more than $10 million in annual compensation, 30 other executives receive more than $1 million annually.
More than 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California are members of SEIU-UHW.