Two months after Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions began bargaining for a nationwide contract in March 2012, they reached a tentative three-year agreement. Coalition members—100,000 health care workers in 28 unions at hundreds of Kaiser Permanente health care facilities in nine states—later ratified the pact.
Kaiser and the coalition accomplished this monumental task in so short a time through interest-based bargaining, a process in which labor and management come together to arrive at common goals.
Employees and Kaiser formed a unique Labor Management Partnership (LMP) in 1997 as a way to transform the relationship between workers and managers. Every day the partnership involves workers, managers and physicians in a joint decision-making and problem-solving process based on common interests. Workers covered by the partnership include registered nurses, pharmacists, maintenance and service workers, technicians of many kinds, psychologists, lab scientists and many others.
As one bargaining team member describes it: “A company and its employees can make things happen that can change the world.”