August 30, 2019

Celebrating the people who power Kaiser Permanente

A statement from Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president, human resources, Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente has a long and productive history with organized labor. Today, we are proud to employ more than 160,000 union-represented employees — more than any other health care organization in the country.

Kaiser Permanente has 60 union contracts, and we remain committed to working together for those who rely on us to provide high-quality, affordable health care — and to keep our organization a great place to work. We offer highly competitive salaries and wages while also making health care more accessible and affordable. 

Much of Kaiser Permanente’s labor relations success is due to our Labor Management Partnership — a strategic model that includes managers, physicians, and union-represented employees working across our organization.

This partnership is the largest, oldest, and most comprehensive such partnership in the United States. Through it we have created a safer, healthier work environment and helped employees improve their skills and advance their careers. It has also produced improved patient outcomes, workplace innovations, process efficiencies, and measurable service and quality improvements.

On a day-to-day basis, more than 3,500 self-directed work teams — called unit-based teams, or UBTs, made up of front-line managers, employees, and physicians — collaborate to identify and solve problems; improve service, quality, and operations; save member dollars through greater efficiency; and give front-line employees a voice in their work.

Our efforts to involve our workforce in decision-making and create an environment of continuous learning and improvement over the past 70-plus years have set the bar for how labor and management can work together. Just last fall, we successfully negotiated a contract with the Alliance of Health Care Unions that established a strong partnership that improves our working environment and rewards our employees with highly competitive wages, benefits, and advancement programs.

We may have occasional disagreement, but we always work through these challenges to align on common goals that are in the best interest of our members, patients, employees, and the communities we serve.