December 6, 2019

Statement on NUHW’s December statewide strike notification

NUHW calls on mental health therapists to strike in December.

A statement from Dennis Dabney, senior vice president, National Labor Relations and the Office of Labor Management Partnership, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals

Kaiser Permanente and the National Union of Healthcare Workers have been jointly working with an external, neutral mediator to help us reach a collective bargaining agreement. Last week, the mediator delivered a proposed compromise solution to both sides that we are seriously considering, however, the union has rejected it and announced plans to strike instead of working through the mediated process.

The only issues actively in negotiation in Northern California are related to wage increases and the amount of administrative time that therapists have beyond patient time. We believe these issues are resolvable and there is no reason to strike.

The mediator’s recommendation includes therapist wage increases in Northern California as follows:

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

3%

2.75% plus a lump sum payment of 0.25% to equal 3%

3%

2.75% plus a lump sum payment of 0.25% to equal 3%

The recommendation also includes a $2,600 retroactive bonus. Additionally, the mediator recommended a metric for time spent with patients and managing administrative items that aligns with the union’s request. We are considering these recommendations as we believe these issues are resolvable.

In Southern California, the primary contract concern relates to wage increases and retirement benefits. The mediator’s recommendation includes wage increases as follows:

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

3%

2.75% plus a lump sum payment of 0.25% to equal 3%

2.75% plus a lump sum payment of 0.25% to equal 3%

2.5% plus a lump sum payment of 0.5% to equal 3%

The recommendation also includes a $2,600 retroactive bonus. While our therapists in Southern California are paid nearly 35% above market, we believe these issues are resolvable. 

Additionally, in terms of retirement, NUHW employees in Southern California have the same defined contribution plan that nearly a dozen other unions have, which has been in place for more than 4 years. Our current proposal on the table enriches this program so that a 3% employee contribution would be matched by a 9% employer contribution. Again, this is no reason to strike.

Rather than calling for a strike, NUHW’s leadership should continue to engage with the mediator and Kaiser Permanente to resolve these issues.