KP-NUHW Bargaining Update, May 27, 2022
Friday’s bargaining session was focused and continued in the cordial tone of prior sessions. We continued to discuss flexible schedules and leaves of absence, arriving at an understanding on mutually agreeable language to include in the contract. We also continued discussion about Article 28, Job Duties and Workload Distribution. We understand the importance of indirect patient care to our therapists, and explained to the union’s bargaining team the serious consideration we are giving their proposal. We detailed the complexities involved in balancing the request for more indirect patient care with our need to provide direct patient care, to comply with current and imminent regulatory requirements around access for new and return visits, considerations about staffing, and more. We remain committed to reaching a solution that benefits our therapists and our patients.
There was focused conversation on the topic of equity, inclusion, and diversity among KP Northern California therapists, as well as Kaiser Permanente’s culturally appropriate care. We exchanged points of view on these topics and it is clear that our interests are mutual. Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing culturally appropriate care, which includes actively recruiting new therapists from among the communities we serve, and to ensuring equity, inclusion, and diversity among all our employee and physician groups, including our Northern California mental health therapists. We believe our proposals at the table will help us further our progress in these important areas. In addition, we want to be sure that the successful work we are doing as an organization and the culturally sensitive care you are providing our patients is not overlooked in this discussion.
We’re aware NUHW has circulated a side-by-side comparison of the union’s proposals and Kaiser Permanente’s responses to date. While the side-by-side document characterizes some of our responses as rejections, it’s important to understand that we are still in active bargaining — in fact, we look forward to the four more bargaining dates scheduled in June. Where we have let NUHW know we have chosen to hold to the language in the existing contract or in one of our proposals, which is common for both sides in bargaining, the union is free to modify its proposal or counter proposal and return it to the table for further discussion.
Our next bargaining sessions are scheduled for June 3, 10, 17, and 29. We will continue to keep you informed. Thank you for your continued commitment to compassionately caring for your patients.