For more than 25 years, the Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership has served as the national model for innovative labor management relations, as well as for improving quality, services, and affordability for millions of Kaiser patients. With the joint goal of making Kaiser the best place to get care and the best place to work, the partnership contributed greatly to Kaiser's financial success and rapidly growing membership, and created good, middle class union healthcare jobs in California and beyond.
Now, we face a radically changed healthcare landscape. Burned out and traumatized from the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers are leaving the industry in alarming numbers, leaving our state with an urgent patient care crisis. Rising inflation and housing costs have left many healthcare workers unable to afford to live in the communities where they serve, while higher wages in retail and fast food have made healthcare careers less competitive. In a recent survey, nearly one in three healthcare workers reported they were considering leaving the profession altogether.
It is clear that the only way to hire and retain the experienced healthcare workers our state needs is to provide higher wages and to invest in educational pipelines to train the healthcare workers of tomorrow. Given your profitability - more than $23 billion since 2018 and $3.2 billion in the first six months of this year alone, Kaiser can well afford to meet the staffing challenges and patient care crisis facing our state.
This is why [I/we] have been dismayed to see the ongoing labor dispute with the Coalition of Kaiser Partnership Unions continue for so long. Picketing has occurred at Kaiser Hospitals throughout the state and stories of workers chronically understaffed and the heartbreaking impacts on patient care continue to surface. Kaiser can and must do better.
Therefore, [I am/we are] appealing to you to recommit Kaiser Permanente to the labor management partnership with the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (CKPU). Specifically, [I/we] request that you:
- Bargain fairly with the CKPU for a new National Agreement that raises workers’ wages to keep up with the cost of living.
- Commit to a $25/hour minimum wage for all Kaiser Permanente positions.
- Invest in the education and training of future healthcare workers.
- Work with Kaiser Unions to defend and expand access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Californians.
The clock is ticking. We hope Kaiser will once again rise as a leader and model for the healthcare industry.