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2019 Coalition Bargaining Update: Seeking Common Ground on Complicated Issues

A Coalition Bargaining Update From Dennis Dabney, Senior Vice President, National Labor Relations and the Office of Labor Management Partnership; and Jim Pruitt, Vice President, Labor Management Partnership and Labor Relations, The Permanente Federation

Management and union representatives addressed complicated questions during the 2-day Kaiser Permanente-Coalition bargaining session in Los Angeles that ended Wednesday, May 29.

At this point in the interest-based negotiations, as expected, the participants in each of the 3 subgroups worked on refining their common interests — a process that also exposed differing views.

In the subgroup working on how to strengthen our Labor Management Partnership, the bargaining team developed options around training — with concerns raised about region-to-region variations. Possible options include standardizing lesson content and enhancing delivery options for employees.

“It’s about the value of training,” said Richard Trogman, chief operating officer of the Woodland Hills Medical Center in Southern California. “You have to express the commitment and the expectation. Just ‘checking the box’ won’t get you there.”

“This is our opportunity. If we’re going to move this organization forward, the frontline has to have training,” said Donna Norton, an SEIU-UHW member and union partnership representative from Northern California.

The Work of the Future subgroup, meanwhile, agreed to a dozen shared interests and grouped them into buckets such as career development, early engagement, and innovation in care delivery, and then began to develop options.

In the Operational Effectiveness and Care Quality subgroup, much of the discussion centered on workplace safety issues. The engaged and vocal group identified key opportunities where joint efforts will help ensure a safe environment for everyone.

Throughout the day, one constant was a strong belief in the value of partnership.

“I’m encouraged by the level of engagement around some really tough issues,” said Rosalyn Evans, the managing director for the Labor Management Partnership in Northern California and the management co-lead for the Partnership subgroup. “We want to partner optimally while ensuring the success of our organization to provide the best care for our members.”

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