Contracts and Agreements

Bargaining Team Takes On Operations, Service

Union and management representatives at the table.

Beyond wages and benefits: A national bargaining team of union and management representatives proposed ways to improve KP operations, service and partnership.

Workers and managers propose ways to strengthen teams for performance improvement

Improving performance and strengthening partnership is the work of the Operational and Service Excellence in Partnership subgroup—one of three subgroups in national bargaining.

At the third session of national bargaining, members of the subgroup made recommendations on topics including improving learning, accountability, problem solving, consistency, flexibility and support for unit-based teams.

The many perspectives represented at the table—with all regions and a wide range of job types in the mix—enriched the group’s discussions.

“We are really making progress. We’re having good discussions that can help people back at work overcome barriers in their day-to-day UBT work and make their lives easier and better,” says Holly Davenport, a union representative for UFCW Local 770 in Southern California. The group is investigating ways to improve the spread of practices from one team to another and to ensure that UBT assessments accurately reflect performance.


The subgroup is also looking at ways to improve partnership at all levels of Kaiser Permanente and at the elements—from tools to training—that affect its success.

“Our group is trying to establish the principles of partnership and ensure they’re applied consistently across regions,” says Rita Essaian, an executive administrator with Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

“No matter what region you’re in, the partnership should be the same,” says Ruby Robley, a respiratory therapist at Antioch Medical Center in Northern California and an SEIU-UHW member. “We need One LMP, just like One KP.”

First-timers excel

Many of this year’s negotiators are new to bargaining in partnership, including manager Casper Yu, the director of Dental Sales and Marketing in the Northwest. “I love how this process works,” he says. “We negotiate and still come out with great personal and working relationships. I tell people, ‘This is what it truly means to be in partnership. I get it now.’”

Operational and Service Excellence in Partnership is one of three subgroups tasked with crafting the next National Agreement. The other two are Total Health and Workplace Safety and Work of the Future.

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Graph/Improvement - ColorBetter in Partnership
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