Monday, July 23, 2018

SEIU-UHW's Dave Regan: 'I can't get to the table with Kaiser'

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (“the Coalition”) doesn’t appear to be getting any closer to sitting down with Kaiser Permanente at the bargaining table.

Last week, the Coalition sent out an update to workers entitled, “Kaiser Permanente Continues Its Aggressive Behavior toward Coalition Unions.” Here’s how it begins:
Kaiser continues to demand a new Partnership Agreement and is requiring Coalition Unions to sign a new Partnership agreement as a condition of resuming negotiations of a new National Agreement… We have met three times with Kaiser leaders over the last few months to reach an agreement.  The Coalition has offered a counter proposal that was balanced—offering new rights and responsibilities within the Partnership for both our unions and Kaiser. We also have offered a ‘temporary cease fire’ that would get us back to the table for negotiations while addressing Kaiser’s concerns.  Both of these offers have been rejected by Kaiser.

The Coalition appears to be especially upset about Kaiser’s demand to insert a “Dave Regan rule” into a new partnership agreement. That’s the rule that would allow the Coalition unions to kick out one of its member unions for “egregious non-partnering behavior upon a vote of 70%” of the partnering unions.

Earlier this year, more than half of the partnership unions quit the Coalition after repeated problems with SEIU-UHW’s Dave Regan and his attempt to snatch more and more decision-making power from the other unions. Under their partnership agreement, there was no way for the unions to kick Regan out, so they had to quit the Coalition and form an entirely new partnership group. That’s the problem that the “Dave Reagan rule” tries to solve.

In its recent message, the Coalition took some back-handed shots at the Alliance of Health Care Unions, which negotiated and signed a new “partnership agreement” with Kaiser in May and has been in bargaining since then for a new contract. (BTW, the Alliance’s agreement with Kaiser includes the so-called “Dave Regan rule.”)

Here’s what the Coalition says about the Alliance:
They have not reached an agreement as of July 11, 2018 and are not expected to resume negotiations until late August. As those negotiations have progressed, significant concerns have emerged that impact ALL union members at Kaiser. Specifically, Kaiser is demanding:
  • Higher co-pays on our medical benefits
  • “Market based” wages based on where people work
  • Eroding RN staffing ratios

Meanwhile, other unions are also beginning their negotiations with Kaiser. Just last week, several thousand members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) began bargaining with Kaiser over three contracts that expire later this fall.

So… when will the Coalition finally get to the bargaining table?

It may take a while. So far, the Coalition’s “Plan to Win” has been downright underwhelming.

Stay tuned.