Frontline union members—because they perform a huge range of jobs that are critical to the delivery of quality, affordable health care—have the insights to create the best experience for our patients and members. With the Labor Management Partnership, frontline workers are able to act on their full range of skills and knowledge. They collaborate as equals every day with managers and physicians to innovate and find new ways to improve performance, deliver high-quality care and service, and make Kaiser Permanente the model for health care in this country.
With partnership, the basic structure of unions and management have not changed—each party still enforces a legally-binding contract. Neither unions nor management give up rights or obligations. But the scope of our work has broadened. In addition to our separate interests, we work together on joint interests – such as putting patient care at the center of our decision-making
With our partnership, our unions have made performance—through empowerment of union members—a union issue. Union members have a strong interest in quality patient care, service, affordable care for working families, and creating the best place to work. It is through the unit based team that union members, alongside physicians and supervisors, learn and contribute to these goals. Stewards and UBT union co-leads (and stewards often wear both hats) partner with supervisors to lead teams’ contribution to constant improvement. Union UBT co-leads are coaches and mentors to their peers—and partners with their physician and management counterparts.
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions pioneered the Labor Management Partnership with Kaiser Permanente not just to protect our industry-leading wages and benefits—but to involve frontline workers in meaningful work that enables all employees to contribute fully in delivering world-class health care. The Coalition’s Legacy Statement is a vision of what the union members in the Labor Management Partnership want to achieve in the next decade:
We have demonstrated that empowered health care workers deliver higher quality care at a more affordable cost, creating the economic value that supports our industry-leading wages, benefits and quality of work life. This is a model for affordable, high quality, universal health care.