OAKLAND, Calif. — A new 3-year collective bargaining agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Health Care Unions is now in effect through September 30, 2021. Ratified by the 21 union locals in the Alliance, the agreement covers 49,000 unionized Kaiser Permanente health care workers across the country in job classifications that include registered nurses, pharmacists and maintenance and service workers.
This Alliance National Agreement, the first between Kaiser Permanente and the newly formed Alliance of Health Care Unions, lays out industry-leading standards for quality, service, affordability, workplace health and safety, and professional development.
“We are pleased with this agreement, which reflects our preferred approach to labor management partnership that benefits all — our organization, our Alliance partners, and most importantly, our patients, members, and communities,” said Chuck Columbus, Kaiser Permanente senior vice president and chief Human Resources officer. “This new agreement goes far beyond the scope of a typical union agreement, with distinctive provisions that allow Kaiser Permanente to continue to be a great place to work and to receive high-quality, affordable care in a rapidly changing health care marketplace.”
“We are proud of this industry-leading agreement with so many unique features, like a commitment to retrain and redeploy workers who are displaced by technological change,” said Alliance Executive Board Chair Kathleen Theobald, executive director of the Kaiser Permanente Nurse Anesthetists Association. “It’s a classic win-win-win that has worked for 20 years of partnership. Through partnership we’ve put workers’ knowledge and ideas to work, Kaiser Permanente members get the best care anywhere, and union members have great jobs.”
The agreement reaffirms both parties’ commitment to working together successfully to fulfill the vision of the renewed 2018 Labor Management Partnership Agreement, which was signed by the Alliance and Kaiser Permanente in May. The new partnership agreement builds on the foundation of the original, which was reached in 1997, while strengthening provisions that enable mutual success for Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance.
Alliance National Agreement provisions help address the issue of rising health care costs and the need for solutions that keep Kaiser Permanente’s health care services both high-quality and affordable. The agreement includes support for thousands of self-directed (or “unit-based”) front-line teams, which are jointly led by pairs of managers and Alliance-represented employees. These unit-based teams are a hallmark feature of the Labor Management Partnership. They actively involve the workforce in decision-making, resulting in documented improvements to clinical quality, patient safety, affordability, and member satisfaction.
In addition, the agreement recognizes the changing nature of health care roles by including career development provisions that allow the organization to attract top talent while supporting current employees to evolve in their roles to meet the needs of Kaiser Permanente members and patients as the marketplace shifts.
The Alliance of Health Care Unions includes locals of AFSCME, UFCW, USW (Steelworkers), IBT (Teamsters), the Kaiser Permanente Registered Nurse Anesthetists, IUOE, OFNHP, ILWU, and UNITE HERE. The member unions share a deep commitment to union solidarity, improving community health through higher living standards, providing the best patient and member care, and keeping Kaiser Permanente the best place to work. They represent health care workers in 7 of Kaiser Permanente’s 8 service regions: 33,000 workers in Southern California; 6,300 in Oregon and Washington; 2,100 in Colorado; 2,300 in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia; 3,000 in Georgia; and 1,900 in Hawaii. For more information, go to: ahcunions.org.
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 12.2 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 Permanente Medical Group 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.