NUHW Kaiser Bargaining Update

NewsDecember 20, 2012

My name is Ann Amato.  I’m a Kaiser LCSW and a proud member of the bargaining team for NUHW’s Kaiser IBHS bargaining unit.

I’d like to report important news from our bargaining table. Kaiser management is beginning to crack.

We’ve all heard about how SEIU-UHW has agreed to allow Kaiser to lay off more than 1,000 of our co-workers. Meanwhile, not a single member of NUHW is slated for layoff.

Even if Kaiser were to threaten us with layoffs, since NUHW members at Kaiser are still covered under the terms of the 2005 contract, we’re covered by the same Employment and Income Security agreement that our co-workers in the Service and Tech units have in their contract.

Sadly, SEIU is allowing Kaiser to ignore that agreement by refusing to acknowledge seniority rights when it comes to job cuts for its members. That means that this holiday season, some laid-off Kaiser employees with more than twenty years on the job will be left looking for work because SEIU’s backroom deal shamefully gave away their bumping rights. That’s outrageous, and it’s something NUHW members and leaders would never allow.

And now for some good news: In our latest round of bargaining, Kaiser has offered NUHW members a retroactive raise going back to October. In fact, since we joined NUHW, many IBHS members have received significantly higher raises than workers stuck in SEIU. We have lost nothing since voting to join NUHW, and we’ve gained a union that stands up for us instead of ‘partnering’ with management.

Our experience is proof that there’s absolutely no need for workers to agree to SEIU’s takeaways, including a $6 million partnership tax and a $1.8 billion cut to SEIU members’ retiree health benefits. In fact, as a result of our contract fight, Kaiser has begun to back down on demands for cuts to our pension and health benefits.

We’ve won these victories and protected our benefits because Kaiser knows that NUHW would never agree to sell out union members behind closed doors like SEIU-UHW.

In NUHW, we are showing that when healthcare workers stand united for what’s right, Kaiser Permanente will back down. We’re building a workplace where healthcare workers are united on behalf of our patients and to win the strongest contracts. Join us!

Ann Amato, LCSW, Kaiser Sacramento
National Union of Healthcare Workers