Kaiser workers settle grievance, will collect an estimated $300,000 in unpaid wages

NewsDecember 16, 2021

The contract that Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians in Southern California settled last year created three new job classifications for psychologists: Developmental Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, and Board Certified Neuropsychologist. The first two classifications were to come with 5 percent additional pay and the third one was to come with 10 percent additional pay.

However, Kaiser claimed that the contract only required it to create the new classifications, not put people into the classifications and pay them the additional salary. The HMO said that psychologists doing the work that met the criteria of the new classifications would have to wait until Kaiser actually posted jobs for those classifications.

Several stewards took the lead in challenging Kaiser, and we filed a grievance on behalf of about 40 psychologists who were impacted. Realizing that the law wasn’t on its side, Kaiser eventually agreed to settle the grievance on our terms. We expect the full payout to the approximately 40 psychologists will amount to more than $300,000.

“I’m proud of what we accomplished as NUHW stewards in preventing Kaiser from violating our contract and denying us the wages we’ve earned,” said Michelle Cuevas, a steward at the Otay Mesa clinic, who led on the issue along with fellow stewards Krista Freece, Candace Bivona, and Amber Walser. “Kaiser thought we might not be ready or able to defend what we won in bargaining, but we had the support and resources to stand up for each other and hold Kaiser accountable to our contract.”