May 19, 2023

3 days of discussions on cost, care, and our membership

Three days of discussions on cost, care, and our membership.

This message was sent to employees represented by the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions continued negotiations for a new national agreement May 16 through 18.

This second bargaining session was an important opportunity to continue to have deep engagement and frank, focused conversations about KP’s membership and finances. KP and Coalition leaders acknowledged the role a sound financial picture plays in supporting our continued growth and reputation as a best place to work.

During the 3-day session, Coalition union leaders outlined their priorities, which include wage increases, staffing, and growth.

The parties also discussed how to help Coalition-represented employees progress in their careers. KP leaders expressed a desire to work in partnership to help train employees for in-demand jobs across the organization.

We are grateful for your commitment to our patients, members, and each other. During this bargaining session, we shared our financial picture and heard your concerns. You shared heartfelt stories about your fellow employees struggling to make ends meet in today’s economic climate. We appreciated the honest and open discussion.

Affordable care is key

Approximately half of U.S. adults report they have difficulty paying for health care. And, as we heard from you and agree, our members rely on us to keep health care affordable. Many of our members come from vulnerable populations. Our ability to be an affordable choice is vital to membership growth and retention. And, of course, membership growth and retention are critical to our ability to support and meet the needs of the communities we serve. They also directly impact how we operate; if we don’t remain reasonably priced, we will lose members, which will affect job opportunities.

We face real challenges

Rising inflation and the continued labor shortage in our industry, a slowdown in member growth, and decreasing higher paying commercial enrollment and increasing lower paying public enrollment, present an ongoing challenge to our ability to compete on price in an increasingly competitive health care environment.

What is clear is our shared commitment to creating a KP that is more affordable, flexible, accessible, and financially stable. We are confident that through our partnership we can address cost trends and staffing while providing high-quality care and improving the health of our communities.

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for June 22 to 24, when we will continue to provide updates on our staffing progress and also discuss ways to strengthen our Labor Management Partnership.