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Financially strapped companies have proposed two-tier wage scales in an attempt to bolster profits while not requiring current employees to make sacrifices to their own wages and benefits. This concessionary scheme does not force existing employees to concede any cuts to current wage rates established in the collective bargaining agreement. Although misleading and flawed, management will argue that a two-tier wage proposal is not harmful to existing union members and therefore should be accepted. Such is the case made by Kaiser Permanente corporate executives in the current round of national bargaining.
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There is also the long view to consider. Industry analysts predict a massive nursing shortage in the U.S. over the next decade, with California bearing the worst of it. By 2030, California is projected to have 44,500 fewer nurses than it needs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
For those in the industry right now, the figures are concerning. But they already know about shortages, as burnout and career change have been rampant during the pandemic. What they don’t know is what comes next at Kaiser.
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