Sunday, June 7, 2015

Kaiser and Partnership Unions follow internal plan, announce deal, and begin promotional blitz

On Friday, Kaiser Permanente and its partnership unions reached a tentative agreement after just four bargaining sessions. On Saturday, they issued a joint press release announcing the agreement (see below).

These developments follow to a "t" the plan detailed in a secret internal plan prepared by Kaiser's Office of Labor Management Partnership in December of 2014 -- five months before bargaining even began.

The plan describes how officials from both Kaiser and its partnership unions will now issue a series of emails, press release, videos, and other communications about the agreement. They’re also supposed to speak from common talking points prepared by Kaiser's Office of LMP.

Apparently, the partnership negotiations are more tightly scripted than a Hollywood movie. And they come with a Hollywood advertising budget, too. According to the internal plan, one of the goals of the bargaining is to “Improve positioning of Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente among each group's key constituents" and "enhancing the KP and Coalition brands.” Translation: Dave Regan and the Kaiser execs are using the negotiations to puff and polish their images within their organizations.

What's actually in the tentative agreement?

It's hard to know without seeing the actual agreement, which has not been provided to the unions' membership. The press release hints at more cuts. For example, it describes one of the agreements in the following way:
A long-term solution to preserve retiree medical benefits while reducing liabilities associated with those benefits.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan sent out an email to SEIU-UHW’s members saying he had not accepted more cuts. The email states "Mission Accomplished…" and “No take-aways!”

Regan, of course, has never been known as "Honest Abe." In fact, he’s repeatedly lied to SEIU-UHW members about massive cuts he's accepted at the bargaining table.

Most famously, he and Hal Ruddick put out a leaflet at the end of negotiations with Dignity Health that gleefully announced to 14,000 workers that "We Did It!" and claimed he and Ruddick had negotiated improved retirement benefits for SEIU-UHW’s members. Two months later, the truth came out when the company issued its quarterly financial statement and reported that Regan had done the exact opposite. He’d agreed to slash workers' retirement benefits, thereby producing $217 million in savings for the company.

It'll undoubtedly take some time to decipher the truth about Regan's deal with Kaiser, as was the case in 2012. Stay tuned. Here’s the Kaiser/partnership union press release.
Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions Reach Unique 3-Year Contract Agreement
105,000 union health care workers in largest private-sector contract talks in United States
June 6, 2015
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions have reached a tentative agreement in the largest private-sector contract talks in the United States this year. The national contract will cover 105,000 unionized Kaiser Permanente health care workers in 28 local unions.
 The tentative agreement goes far beyond the traditional contract issues of wages and benefits. It develops standards to assist unionized workers, managers and physicians as they work together to achieve quality, affordability, and safety of care, prepare for jobs of the future and develop innovative solutions to health care challenges. The agreement also will enable 3,500 frontline teams to better deliver award-winning care and service to Kaiser Permanente’s more than 10 million members and patients.
 “This is an outstanding agreement that deepens our ability to provide affordable, high-quality care to our members and patients,” said Dennis Dabney, senior vice president, National Labor Relations and Office of the Labor Management Partnership. “Kaiser Permanente leads the industry because it is a great place to work and a great place to receive care — and the two are inseparable.”
 “We’re on year 18 of a remarkably successful strategy,” said Hal Ruddick, executive director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. “Our contract is better than ever, Kaiser Permanente’s quality and service scores are higher than ever, and the organization and unions are both healthy and growing. Partnership pays off for workers, consumers and mission-driven organizations like Kaiser Permanente.”
 The new three-year agreement includes:
 Wage increases in each year of the agreement, ranging from 2 to 4 percent depending on the region and the year of the agreement.
 Enhancements to benefits such as dental coverage, life insurance and tuition reimbursement.
 A long-term solution to preserve retiree medical benefits while reducing liabilities associated with those benefits.
 Additional funding to two educational trust funds to ensure career development for Kaiser Permanente’s diverse workforce.
 New goals for 3,500 front-line teams. Worker engagement and participation in these teams has helped Kaiser Permanente garner recognition for clinical quality, patient safety and member satisfaction from organizations such as U.S. News and World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
 Updates to the groundbreaking Kaiser Permanente Total Health Incentive Plan, a voluntary program that encourages and empowers employees to make their own health a priority and builds a culture of workplace health. The program rewards employees for healthy behavior and provides incentives for collective improvement rather than singling out individual employees.
 Joint participation by the coalition unions in community health projects and volunteer work.
 Once ratified this summer by local unions and national Kaiser Permanente leadership, the contract will cover 105,000 Kaiser Permanente unionized employees. They include 81,000 health care workers in California; 8,500 in Oregon and Washington; 5,000 in Colorado; 5,500 in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia; 1,800 in Georgia; and 800 in Hawaii. The workers span hundreds of job classifications, from registered nurses and pharmacists, to maintenance and service workers.
 Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions created the Labor Management Partnership (LMP) in 1997 to develop and support innovative ways of improving patient care, affordability and the work environment. Kaiser Permanente is recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. It currently serves more than 10 million members.
 For more information go to
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:
About the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, AFL-CIO, is a federation of 28 union locals representing more than 105,000 Kaiser Permanente employees. The Coalition formed in 1995 to coordinate the unions’ bargaining strategies with Kaiser Permanente. Since 1997, it has worked with Kaiser Permanente in the largest and longest-lasting Labor Management Partnership in the United States to help provide affordable, high-quality care and service to Kaiser Permanente members while ensuring industry-leading pay, benefits and working conditions for its union members.