A statement from Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente.
In March 2018, the Kaiser Permanente management team was prepared to bargain with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (Coalition), but the process stopped before bargaining began. Because of conflict with SEIU-UHW leadership, 9 of the 12 international unions within the Coalition split to form the Alliance of Health Care Unions. Following the union split, the Alliance of Health Care Unions successfully negotiated a new contractual agreement with management that keeps our Kaiser Permanente employees among the best paid in wages and benefits in the entire industry.
Since April 2019, management and the 3 remaining unions that are part of the Coalition led by SEIU-UHW leadership have been working together toward a mutually beneficial agreement as part of national bargaining.
On Monday, September 16, 2019 while our management team was at the bargaining table, the Coalition, under SEIU-UHW’s leadership, announced its plans for a 7-day strike starting October 14. We are not in this situation because we do not have an attractive offer on the table; rather it is because of the aggressive approach by the Coalition and SEIU-UHW leadership demanding that they receive more than everyone else.
SEIU-UHW leadership believes that an aggressive approach involving negative corporate campaigning, pushing ballot measures to harm our organization, and threats of a strike is the best way to get a better offer than what was received in our other most recent contracts, including with our partner the Alliance of Health Care Unions.
Kaiser Permanente’s approach remains the same: we are absolutely committed to offering a package that’s fair, equitable, and aligned with all of our other unions, which keeps our Kaiser Permanente employees among the best paid in terms of wages and benefits in the entire industry. We are committed to our workforce, which delivers on our mission every day, and to our members’ demand for greater affordability of care and coverage from Kaiser Permanente.
We will continue to engage with the Coalition, led by SEIU-UHW’s leadership, at the bargaining table, and I hope we will not have a strike on October 14. However, please know that we are also preparing to deal with all scenarios to make sure our members and patients continue to receive the service and the care they deserve.