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KP-NUHW Bargaining Update, April 5, 2022

Yesterday Kaiser Permanente’s negotiating team met again at the bargaining table with NUHW. We reviewed with the union its comprehensive package proposal going over each line carefully.

We are optimistic about reaching agreement on important areas after further discussion. For example, in discussion we agreed with the union about the need to automate the process by which therapists who reach 15 years of service move to Step 10 placement for wages, and as an organization are exploring ways to accomplish this. Our team also agreed to add contract language that specifies an annual open enrollment period for the student loan repayment benefit, for those eligible to participate in this program.

The topic of indirect patient care remains unresolved. We continue to look for ways to accomplish our twin goals of caring for our patients with increased access to services while also caring for you who provide care. To this end, we brought to the table for discussion the idea to provide administrative support for our therapists as a way to address the needs of our patients while promoting therapist well-being and balancing workloads. The union chose to hold to its position regarding indirect patient care and declined discussing the idea of administrative support.

We are disappointed that the union has stated in its communications to you and at the table yesterday that it intends to ask you to vote on whether or not to conduct an open-ended strike. The union accuses Kaiser Permanente of holding to its position on indirect patient care and making no forward movement. Yet, the union refused to consider our idea to provide therapists administrative support as a way to support you. Holding to positions on key proposals while discussing ways to reach a path forward are normal parts of bargaining — a process that takes time, good faith, and compromise. We are committed to this process, and we are bargaining in good faith.

Striking will not bring us closer to agreement. We hope the union will focus not on asking you to leave your patients who need you, but on meeting at the table to continue discussion over each party’s proposals, so we can reach an agreement that is good for you and for our patients.

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13. We will continue to keep you informed.

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