Recently, Kaiser Management announced its vaccination mandate– a decision made without engaging the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Union (CKPU) or utilizing the partnership process.
On the afternoon of Friday, July 30, Kaiser notified the Coalition of its planned vaccination mandate, which was quickly announced the following Monday, August 2.
As unions who represent healthcare workers, our top priority is to keeping workers, our families, and our patients safe. The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven safe and highly effective in reducing severe illness from the virus. As of early August, 77.8% of Kaiser employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, we fully expect Kaiser to bargain with us over any changes to our working conditions, including a COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
Like many of you, we are disappointed and upset that Kaiser excluded the expertise and experience of those working on the frontlines of the pandemic from this process.
Instead of using our Partnership to advance our shared goals of public health and worker safety, Kaiser chose to unilaterally implement their decision and alienate us, their partners.
What’s Next? Coalition Demands to Bargain Impacts of Vaccine Mandate and Pushes Kaiser to Act in Partnership
The Delta variant is by far the most serious threat we’ve faced and is as easily transmitted as chickenpox. With hospitalizations dramatically rising again and given our unique and indispensable role, we understand why frontline healthcare workers are being required to once again rise to the occasion and be the first line of defense in this unprecedented fight.
Still, we will not let our voices be brushed aside. On Wednesday, August 4, the Coalition sent an official demand to bargain over the impacts of Kaiser’s unilateral implementation of the vaccine mandate and is pushing to schedule the meeting quickly. Read the letter here.
We must ensure Kaiser’s new policies are administered fairly and that the rights of employees with medical or religious exemptions are fully respected.
The Coalition remains committed to holding Kaiser accountable to working with its labor partners. We strongly believe that we can most effectively address these issues, and those yet unseen, by working together in partnership rather than Kaiser acting unilaterally and without our members’ input.