After 10 weeks of bargaining, a tentative National Agreement was reached between the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and Kaiser Permanente management. Bargaining team members emerged at 6 am Saturday, June 6, in Manhattan Beach with a tentative agreement for our best-ever national contract. The tentative agreement includes higher wages, better benefits, and secures our retiree benefits. It will take effect on October 1 after members vote to accept the agreement during ratification meetings in August.
The tentative agreement goes far beyond the traditional contract issues of wages and benefits. Our bargaining team was there, taking part in discussions that will determine the future for those who work at Kaiser. Bargaining team members were split among three subgroups of the Common Issues Committee and focused on work of the future, total health and workplace safety, and operational excellence in partnership. The tentative agreement develops standards to achieve quality, affordability, and safety of care, prepare for jobs of the future, and develop innovative solutions to health care challenges.
UNAC/UHCP members played an integral part in the success of national negotiations. Hundreds came out and participated as observers to support our dedicated bargaining team members, shared information with coworkers, and rallied with a sea of blue on June 3 to show Kaiser management how important this contract is to us.
Many committed members arranged carpools, chartered busses, and drove from all over Southern California to listen in on the bargaining sessions. In the hours leading up to the June 6 announcement that a tentative agreement had been reached, UNAC/UHCP members were camped out in the lobby where bargaining was taking place late Friday night and into the early hours of the morning on Saturday. It was this type of dedication that showed Kaiser management that UNAC/UHCP members were united behind our bargaining team and the Coalition. UNAC/UHCP members’ show of strength throughout the bargaining process made it apparent that we have what it takes to get the job done.
On June 16, delegates from each of the UNAC/UHCP Kaiser affiliates attended the Union Delegate conference, where the new tentative National Agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition Unions was overwhelmingly endorsed for ratification. The agreement now goes to 28 Coalition local unions for ratification and to Kaiser Permanente senior leadership for its approval. After ratification, the three year contract will cover 105,000 Kaiser Permanente unionized employees.
UNAC/UHCP will soon schedule dates throughout the Region for a ratification vote.