2019 Coalition Bargaining Update: Bargaining hits a high note as participants seek common ground
An important message from: Dennis Dabney, Senior Vice President, National Labor Relations and the Office of the Labor Management Partnership Jim Pruitt, Vice President, Labor Management Partnership and Labor Relations, The Permanente Federation
On May 28, 2019, management and union representatives opened the second session of bargaining between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions on a high note, seeking common ground both inside and outside their meeting rooms.
In the Commitment to Partnership subgroup, bargaining team members broke into small groups so managers and union leaders could discuss pain points around flexibility, timely decision-making, staffing, backfill, and training. Then together, they began to develop options that would enable us to solve those issues and improve an already world-class partnership.
“Conversations have been respectful, honest, and transparent,” said Kim Pritchard, assistant medical group administrator at the Riverside Medical Center in Southern California and a management member of the bargaining team. “Everyone is voicing their ideas and interests.”
“We’re talking — and that can’t be understated,” said Ollie Allen, union bargaining team member, medical assistant for the Vallejo Chronic Pain Clinic in Northern California, and member of SEIU-UHW.
Understanding the value of strong relationships, managers and union members sat down together at meal times, too, using the time to get acquainted with one another and discover other common interests.
The 100-member bargaining team, known as the Common Issues Committee, is divided into 3 subgroups. In addition to the subgroup addressing how to strengthen our Labor Management Partnership, one is focused on how to improve organizational performance while delivering high-quality care, and the last on how to prepare for jobs that will be changing in the future. Those groups also worked this session to identify common interests and develop options in their areas.
Kaiser Permanente believes that by working in partnership with the unions that represent our employees, we will continue to achieve the best results for our members, patients, and the communities we serve. Together, we can advance Kaiser Permanente’s mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care — and help to keep Kaiser Permanente a great place to work.