Here's the latest from Kaiser.
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (a.k.a. "the partnership unions") has begun circulating a bargaining survey in advance of upcoming national negotiations covering 90,000 workers at Kaiser facilities across the U.S. The negotiations are scheduled to begin April 14, 2015.
So… Are top officials at the partnership unions planning to fight Kaiser's effort to cut workers' pensions and health benefits?
It sure doesn't look like it.
Check out the Coalition's bargaining survey (see below). It doesn't even mention the idea of preserving the defined-benefit pension plan that Kaiser is trying to replace with a 401(k) plan. And it fails to mention the health benefit cuts that Kaiser has already proposed to the Coalition.
Instead, here’s how the survey attempts to re-frame the Coalition’s dumbed-down bargaining goals:
Completely lame and dishonest, right?
Also absent from the survey? Any mention of Kaiser's record $14.5 billion in profits and its skyrocketing executive pay.
So who's responsible for the survey?
SEIU-UHW, with half of the Coalition's total membership of 90,000 workers, is by far the largest union inside the Coalition and consequently calls all the shots inside the Coalition. In fact, one of Dave Regan's staffers -- Hal Ruddick – is the Executive Director of the Coalition and will be its lead negotiator at the bargaining table.
Meanwhile, the non-partnership unions are intensifying their fight against Kaiser even as partnership union officials prepare to jam cuts down their members’ throats.
Earlier this month, the California Nurses Association’s 18,000 RNs conducted a two-day strike at Kaiser. Also this month, NUHW’s members -- who’ve waged a four-year battle against the cuts and scored a $4 million fine against the HMO -- announced the results of a membership vote to authorize another statewide strike against Kaiser. And in Hawaii, UNITE HERE Local 5 has staged multiple strikes and job actions to oppose cuts to workers' benefits.