Optical Chapter Bargaining Update — January 31, 2014

February 6th, 2014

Bargaining Session
In bargaining on January 29th, the Employer put all of the tentative agreements and all of its previous proposals (including its last, best and final offer) in one document and presented it to us as a comprehensive proposal and “final offer.”  We asked the Employer, if we were to compromise on any of the major issues, e.g. wages, health insurance, retiree health or pension, would the Employer consider that compromise. The Employer’s response was he felt we were very close on wages and would entertain any proposal from us on benefits issues.  That doesn’t sound like a final position to us. It’s about putting pressure on us to accept concessions already green-lighted by SEIU.

Another Letter from Connie and Gay
We think the Employer gave us this “final offer” at bargaining to provide Connie Wilson and Gay Westfall a reason to send out yet another letter to our members imploring us to accept the concessions the Employer is proposing in “these turbulent times.”

Our Input to Deal with The VERS Mess
At bargaining, we also talked a lot about the absolute failure of Management to provide adequate training on VERS.  The Employer said they were revising the training and would be offering additional training at the branches.  Several upper-level management folks will be going to the various branches to see how the implementation is going and what concerns the employees have.  Management will also set up a call with folks selected by the Union to oversee what is going on. We, of course, will participate but it really is unfortunate that management waited so long to ask for input from workers.

The VERS Failure
When asked why Optical Management had not asked for workers’ input before rolling out VERS and why they did not follow the same implementation process as was done with Health Connect and OPOS, the Employer could not answer and just looked embarrassed. What could they say? Optical management has angered patients, lost revenue, stressed out employees and lost credibility.

Next Bargaining Session and Steward Council
All members are welcome to attend our next bargaining session on Friday, February 21 (location TBD).  We will also have a steward council on February 18 to discuss strategy, our partnership with the CNA and where we go from here (including what we are currently doing and what we can do in the future to stop Kaiser from destroying benefits for ALL its employees).

We will continue to keep you updated as events unfold.

NUHW Bargaining Committee: Michael Nelson, Sonia Askew, Sonia Minor, Gloria Villaseñor, Otto Pimentel, Elvia Plata, Daniel Torres, Toni Gianti, and Dan Egan