A New Alliance of Kaiser Unions – a Real Coalition that Fights for Patients and Workers, Not Kaiser Profits

August 10th, 2012

A New Day

Last January, tens of thousands of Kaiser workers – including CNA and NUHW RNs, psychologists, optical workers and healthcare professionals, stationary engineers, and scores of rank and file SEIU service and tech members – waged the largest strike in Kaiser history.

Today, we are proud to announce the founding of a new Alliance of Kaiser Unions, starting with the 18,000 CNA RNs and 4,000 NUHW members, and soon many more who have already been meeting together. It’s a new day in Kaiser. Growing numbers of Kaiser professionals and other employees will work together to defend our standards, our patients, and our communities, not Kaiser’s profits.

Patients and Workers Standing Up Together

We have no choice. In the past two years, at Kaiser, and other hospital employers, SEIU-UHW has surrendered guaranteed pension plans and accepted sharp cuts in retiree health coverage, higher out-of-pocket health costs, transfer of union jobs to non-union subcontractors, and pay freezes, and has pushed workers into privacy-invading “wellness programs” that punish all employees with higher health costs if some do not meet the artificial standards.

With that in hand, Kaiser wants to force NUHW members to accept similar contract concessions. For CNA members, this, and more, is what is at stake for the next round of bargaining.

Even as Kaiser shatters records on profits — $6.9 billion the last three years, in addition to huge pay hikes, pension improvements, and other huge perks for Kaiser executives and managers, SEIU-UHW has done nothing but accept takeaways.

The Partnership for Profit – Not Patients or Workers

SEIU-UHW’s President Dave Regan has even gone the next step, signing a new partnership agreement with the California Hospital Association, the lobbying arm that works to erode employee and care standards at all California hospitals, including rolling back nurse-to-patient ratios and worker pensions.

We know that if we do not take a stand now, no Kaiser employee will be secure. If Kaiser and SEIU-UHW succeed, every standard we have fought to achieve for decades, including quality health coverage for our families, the ability to retire in dignity, good paying jobs, and workplace protections, will be at risk.

Unity

Our collective message to Kaiser will be clear: No concessions. We will fight for our members and patients, not for higher profits for Kaiser.

Our message to other Kaiser employees: Join us. Many already have.

Let’s stand together. For our patients, ourselves, our families, our future.

In Unity,

Zenei Cortez, RN, Co-President, CNA, Chair, CNA’s Kaiser Joint Area Bargaining Council
Sal Rosselli, President, NUHW, National Union of Healthcare Workers