The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The gains that the Alliance made in these negotiations are due primarily to the passion, commitment, economic understanding, and selflessness of our members toward each other. We stood unified in protecting our union siblings despite KP’s intransigence and not so subtle threats with the hiring of contract workers at astronomical wages. Without your support, we would be at 1%/1%/1% Across The Board with a 2 Tier wage scale. Now to the nitty gritty.
The Good: The strike is averted
The Bad: The strike is averted
The Ugly: The details
As you all know, the November 15, 2021 Monday strike is averted. The Common Issues Committee (CIC) voted by consensus to present the National Tentative Agreement to the voting delegates for approval and then finally to the general membership for its approval.
What do I mean by consensus? It does not mean that one completely agrees with the entire package but that one could live with it. Yes, the strike is averted with a Tentative Agreement, which is Good. I know there are a lot of you out there that really wanted to strike for all the reasons listed in our posts, townhalls, and training meetings. There is a lot of pent up anger that a strike could have released. A strike could have been cathartic. Some may be even angrier now with the economic package.
That’s the Bad because there will be no strike. We had tremendous momentum. We knew and could feel it on the ground. We were gaining member, community, and political support every day, and I believe we could have extracted some more out of Kaiser economically. That needs to be weighed against the length of a strike and Kaiser’s immunity to community and operational pressure due to its financial heft.
The Ugly (for UNAC members) are the economic details:
- 4 year contract with NO 2 tier
- 3% Across The Board (ATB) wage increase Year 1, 3% ATB Year 2, 2% ATB+2% lump sum Years 3 and 4
- The lump sums are guaranteed and not tied to the condition of 2 Tier
- Revised PSP plan
- No loan forgiveness, no change in Tuition Reimbursement, no Juneteenth, no reduction to $5 copays
There are SIGNIFICANT economic gains for the other Alliance unions such as improvements in retirement in Colorado, wage scale increases above the ATB for the nurses in Oregon, much better Health Reimbursement Accounts for Washington, solidfying retirement funds for Hawaii, narrowing the geographic wage gap in the Inland Empire and many more. UNAC may be the biggest beneficiary of better funding for the Ben Hudnall Scholarship because our wages are the highest; therefore, we exhaust BH funds more quickly.
So why did I, as the voting representative in the CIC for UPSC, agree to move these Tentative Agreements forward to be voted upon by the full delegate committee? To be clear, simply for our UPSC members, it’s not a great deal but a good enough deal. Let me explain:
2 Tier was beaten back. I don’t believe the negotiation team would have presented a proposal with 2 Tier, and I would never have voted to approve it. Was KP gaslighting us on this? Was it a Trojan horse to divert our attention to get us to settle for less? Hard to say.
The ATBs and lump sums are subpar given that we are used to minimally 3% ATBs in non pandemic years.
Many of the economic gains benefitted only the non UNAC unions within the Alliance.
UNAC has historically benefitted from the highest ATBs compared to all the Regions Outside of California. For the first time, ATBs are distributed uniformly across the entire Alliance. This is vital in keeping the Alliance unified (avoiding a sort of 2 tier ATB).
The other Alliance unions are catching up to UNAC’s rich wages and benefits.
First contracts for new UNAC chapters/affiliates HI/NCAL secured retirement protection, better wages, and improvements in medical.
Securing of a 5% 25-year step increase on top of the ATB for UPSC only. This substantially increases the payout for traditional pension holders and benefits new pension holders who will have a higher base hourly rate on the Employer’s 8% contribution.
Although disappointed in some of the economics for our individual affiliate, it is a solid package for the Alliance and a good package for UNACUHCP and UPSC. We gain strength when we negotiate together. We all share in the riches as well as in the pain. UNACUHCP and the Coalition of Kaiser Unions all stood behind us back in 2015. It is time we pay it forward.
To @UNAC/UCHP: as the largest and most powerful union within the Alliance, we could have been selfish and grabbed more of the economic pie. UNACUCHP leadership did not go down that road. With magnanimity and shepherding the smaller unions closer to our wages and benefits, they still were able to negotiate wins for UNACUHCP. This dual role results in a stronger alliance among the Alliance unions going forward.
In the coming days, the voting delegates will approve or reject the recommended TA. The voting membership will then have an opportunity to vote to approve or reject along with our local UPSC agreements.
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