National Contract Bargaining Update:

Over the past week, our Alliance bargaining teams have been pushing KP management across all our National Bargaining subcommittees to give us the support we need to provide the best care and service to our patients. While the employer is focused on spreadsheets, we’re concentrating on what should be the main goal: continuing to provide high-quality patient care.

While management believes our industry-leading wages are a problem to solve, in our view this is proof of the value of the care and service we give to our patients. Our goal is to ensure that union members’ living standards continue to improve and KP reaps the benefits of our work: increasing enrollment and the best patient care.

At the next economic subcommittee meeting on Monday, June 14, the Alliance will present more detailed information about our specific economic interests.

“Following a year in which our members demonstrated unrelenting heroism caring for our communities, we made the case for continuing improvements in best care and best jobs,” said Nate Bernstein of UFCW Local 7. “We expect national and local agreements with good raises, and improvements in benefits, staffing, racial justice, and dispute resolution.

Here are updates on the work of the other four national bargaining subcommittees:

Staffing, Backfill, and Travelers

“I’ve seen fellow nurses cry when we’re short-staffed and it’s not because we aren’t getting our lunch breaks. It’s because we can’t give the care patients deserve, the care we would want to give our own families. Obviously we want KP to do well but not at the expense of our patients. Our goal is to continue providing extraordinary care, every single time and to do that, we need the staff,” said Peter Sidhu, RN, UNAC/UHCP, union co-lead of the Staffing, Backfill, and Travelers subcommittee. “If you look at the 1F language in the 2018 national agreement, we already have language meant to address this, but it’s not working properly. We have to fix this, not only for registered nurses, but for each and every one of us who go the extra mile for our patients.”

Racial Justice

“This is the first time racial justice has been a topic in national bargaining, and our group is excited about creating real change in the employment culture and the way KP provides care and services,” said Sandra Flores, IUOE, union co-lead of the Racial Justice subcommittee. “Friends, family members, and even myself, have experienced being treated dismissively as a patient, even with life-threatening conditions. We can do better. If we can make real change in an organization this big, it can affect our whole community. We want to build on Belong@KP, deliver it to everyone including our members. We are comparing the Alliance and KP programs and looking for shared interests, bringing our commitment to making KP fully inclusive.”

Patient & Worker Safety

“The pandemic exacerbated some of the problems we already had, like fatigue, work-life balance and burnout, and brought about new challenges like PTSD. The care we give is the heart of the patient experience at KP –  and we must take care of the workers,”  said Charmaine Morales, RN, UNAC/UHCP, union co-lead of the Patient and Worker Safety subcommittee.

“There’s so much research that shows high worker satisfaction leads to better outcomes with patients. The Patient & Worker Safety subcommittee is an opportunity to address the safety gaps and make sure all of us – regardless of what we do or where we work – are safe on the job.”

Problem & Dispute Resolution

“We recently had a successful resolution on the use of travelers in the Northwest, but it took several years to get resolved,” said Julie Kwiek, Alliance, union co-lead of the Problem & Dispute Resolution. “Interest-based problem solving works, but the use of IBPS has been declining in recent years. We need to have an expeditious process to solve issues where we can’t reach agreements to uphold our National Agreement.

After 24 years of partnership with unions, KP is remarkably strong:

  • Won Medicare 5-Star ratings in 7 regions, #1 ratings in 52 quality measures, and #1 consumer satisfaction in 6 regions.
  • Grew by 591,000 members over last three years – plus another 129,000 in the first quarter of 2021
  • Earned over $16 billion in net profits from 2018-2020
  • Tens of thousands of Alliance members work in UBTs to save millions of dollars and improve care and service, and our unions quickly adjust to patient and operational needs in emergencies such as COVID.

Alliance Arbitration Victory to Improve next year’s PSP Payouts

The Alliance has won an important arbitration victory based on our national agreement contract language on PSP payouts. As a result, members of UFCW Local 7 and IUOE Local 1 in Colorado

will receive additional payments for the 2020 PSP – and Alliance members in MAS, WA, CO, SCAL, and NW should see higher 2021 PSP payouts (to be paid in March 2022).  In response to a dispute initiated by Alliance locals in Colorado, and escalated under our National Agreement dispute process, the arbitrator ruled that PSP payouts should be based on 3% of the average wages of members covered by the Alliance national agreement. With Alliance PSP payouts based on our own members wages, we will be eligible to receive the full 3% weighted average rate payout provided in our national agreement, a significant increase.