In March 2018, on the eve of National Bargaining, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions split into two groups — due to disagreements among its union members over what partnership means — and the scheduled kickoff meetings did not proceed (SEIU-UHW has an existing contract that does not expire until October 2019). The disagreements came after SEIU-UHW union leadership filed a California ballot initiative that attacked Kaiser Permanente’s model and would have removed our ability to maintain the resources we need to care for our members and communities (the initiative was later withdrawn).
The remaining Coalition, including SEIU-UHW, subsequently filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) concerning the bargaining. The determination by the district 32 office of the National Labor Relations Board is not a verdict. It is the beginning of the NLRB’s process to hold evidentiary hearings to fully understand this complicated case.
Those hearings are likely to start next spring. We are confident the NLRB will agree that Kaiser Permanente has acted lawfully and in good faith in our dealings with SEIU-UHW and the other remaining unions following the breakup of the Coalition and SEIU-UHW.
Ever since the former Coalition broke apart, Kaiser Permanente has been doing everything possible to be constructive and make progress. We have already reached agreement with 21 former Coalition unions, which now have joined in a new Partnership group they have named the Alliance of Health Care Unions. We have sought to return to a true spirit of partnership with the remaining unions.
As we have said in the past, our preference is to be in partnership with the unions who represent our employees, but for unions who prefer a traditional union-employer relationship to a partnership, we will continue to work fairly and constructively. We will continue to bargain with each union in good faith, and we look forward to resolving the issues raised in the NLRB matter.