UNAC/UHCP bargaining teams kept the heat on management on August 27 and 30, because management seems to be unwilling to make agreements that allow us to provide quality patient care. We’re prepared to fight for what’s right.
Standing our ground
Six local contracts covering Kaiser health care professionals remain far from completion. At stake for every member of UNAC/UHCP: must-do agreements for safe staffing and addressing workloads. We have much unfinished business ahead of us in the next few weeks of local bargaining. While some tentative agreements were reached, management delayed progress on a number of union proposals. From “blue book” contracts representing RNs, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to the UPSC table of pharmacists, our bargaining teams pushed for tweaks and overhauls that only serve to help us provide the best care for our patients.
“We know that if people closest to the work are given the resources, the information, the support and the tools that they need, we can really provide the best quality care,” said Ontario Kaiser RN Valentina Zamora-Arreola. “That’s what this is a conversation about: It’s not about us; it’s about our patients.”
Conversation trumped action in Week Six of local bargaining, but a few key breakthroughs kept the finish line in sight.
A national fight
Meanwhile in downtown Los Angeles, national coordinated talks broke off after some incremental progress. The main sticking points include getting Kaiser to agree to a comprehensive economic settlement that provides a wage increase for all union members, protects all benefits, and puts the labor management partnership back on track with a realistic and workable plan.
“We are strong, and united, and ready for a fight if need be!” UNAC/UHCP President Denise Duncan, RN, declared to a room full of Alliance union negotiators.
National coordinated negotiations are expected to resume in Southern California on September 17.
On the front lines
We continued to emphasize what’s needed to keep patients and the people who care for them safe. Specialty nurses were met with a regressive proposal that would make it close to impossible for current SCNSC-covered members to grow within the organization—a fundamental part of every nurse’s career path.
“Why is it in the interests of patients for our members to get these jobs?” said Michele Shack, RN case manager at Kaiser West Los Angeles. “We know the job. We know HealthConnect. We know what it takes to help our patients.”
Highlights from the six bargaining tables
United we stand
From local to national bargaining, UNAC/UHCP’s show of unity remains unmatched. Another 300 staffing objections rolled in, sharing real stories about real people. The Alliance delivered thousands of signed petitions—most of them by our members—to national management representatives to reaffirm our union commitment to the principle and power of partnership, which includes union contracts that are jointly honored and enforced. Management leads needed a rolling cart to take them back to Kaiser headquarters in Oakland. Throughout Southern California, UNAC/UHCP again turned Kaiser workplaces blue on Tuesday, August 28, showing solidarity with their brothers and sisters negotiating in Pomona and Los Angeles. Growing ever stronger as our union turns 46 this year, we welcomed a new group of members to our 32,000 strong family. More than 840 health care employees in the new Kaiser Maui Health system ratified their membership into UNAC/UHCP. View our official welcome video.
It’s not over
Right after the Labor Day holiday, local teams return to their tables at the Sheraton Fairplex on September 5 and September 6. Later in September, we are due back to the national coordinated bargaining table with the rest of the Alliance of Health Care Unions.