United Pharmacists
of
Southern California

UPSC Officers recommend a NO vote on our Local contract Tentative Agreements

 

UPDATE 12/4/2021:  What if UPSC votes “NO” and the National Agreement is approved? 

 

Local Bargaining for our UPSC contract would be restarted and renegotiated until a Local UPSC Tentative Agreement is reached and voted “Yes” upon by members.

“We would expect the employer to come back with the same National Agreement. Based on historical reference, the likelihood is low that Kaiser would change the one National Agreement to be different for UPSC”, according to Joe Guzynski, UNAC Executive Director and Jessica Ludd, UNAC attorney (during the 12/4/2021 UNAC Information meeting). There is only ONE National Agreement.

KP has no legal obligation to keep the UPSC Local Tentative Agreement that we rejected, including the 25 year step, according to Joe Guzynski.

However, from his past experience in negotiating many contracts and in looking at other union contracts that were rejected, the employer and the union would focus on issues that were in disagreement and fix those.

“Any effort by Kaiser to touch the UPSC Tentative Agreement regarding the 25 year wage step increase would be met with all-out war from UNAC” stated Joe Guzynski, during the UNAC Information meeting on 12/4/2021.

An IMPORTANT message from your UPSC Officers regarding 2021 Local Contract Tentative Agreements
11/26/2021

We have heard much about the National Agreement; now, it is time to turn our attention
to the Local UPSC Tentative Agreements

I)  The entire UPSC officer group on the bargaining team STRONGLY recommends a NO vote for the future of our profession.

Parts of the UPSC Tentative Agreement inflict great harm to our members: takes work from Outpatient, and can potentially take work away from AmCare and Inpatient pharmacists.  Officers excluded from the decision-making process led to bad, secretive backroom deals.

Ultimately, we completely disassociate ourselves from this UPSC 2021-2025 Tentative Agreement.

A ‘YES’ vote means:
  1. Changing the working managers article from 4hrs/day to 40hrs/per pay period
  • Impossible to monitor manager working hours over a pay period
  • Manager works entire shift rather than finding/scheduling a replacement pharmacist
  • Expands the range of work opportunities for managers in ALL service lines: inpatient, outpatient, and AmCare
  • With more management flexibility, AmCare and Inpt work can more easily be siphoned to Outpatient
  • Reduces opportunities for OT and proper staffing
  • Managers continue to take the place of over 70FTE pharmacists
  • NO movement on reducing managers working
  1. Accepting a committee to assess working manager hours with NO enforcement/penalties in exchange for changes in the working manager article (package deal)
  • Previous “committees” failed to materialize—Regional Workload Committee pending since 2015; Per Diem position conversion pending since 2018
  1. Reduction in Force Language not strong enough to protect pharmacists
  2. Agreeing that UPSC officers have NO role in the bargaining process
  • Never consulted, approval never sought, nor informed of the signing of backroom deals
  • Even after saying NO multiple times previously to the working manager language, the staff reps signed the agreement with KP without our knowledge.
  • Future officer bargaining will continue to be ignored—NO different from the Guild which we decertified
A ‘NO’ vote means:
  1. The bargaining team renegotiates the harmful working manager article
  2. Restoring the integrity of the bargaining process and says NO to backroom deals
  3. All agreements require bargaining team approval
  • Rejected the initial agreement on job descriptions between the staff reps and KP characterized as “this is the best we can get.”—forcing a much better deal.
  • Officer involvement significantly improved the job description language affecting AmCare—to allow non-specialty clinic transfers to other non-specialty clinics, not just specialty clinic to specialty clinic

View the signed UPSC Tentative Agreements here.

II)   National and Local Contract Tentative Agreements: How many votes are there??

UPSC is only 1 of 3 affiliates within UNAC’s 6 affiliates that opened their contracts for local bargaining. Voting for all the other 4 affiliates is much simpler. They will only have to decide on the National–either accept or reject. 

UNAC has mailed postcards stating National Bargaining Contract Ratification Vote will be held from Tues. 12/7/2021 at 12:01am to Weds. 12/8/2021 at 11:59pm (PST)

 For UPSC, even though there are 2 issues to decide, National and Local, there is only 1 vote.

 Why? As explained by Hal Ruddick, executive director of the Alliance, the National is actually an Appendix of your local contract.

Therefore, a “Yes” vote means you are voting to accept BOTH the National and the Local contracts and a “No” vote means you are rejecting BOTH the National and the Local contracts.

What if:

1) UPSC votes yes and National is approved:  We all go home and live with the consequences in our daily workplace for the next four years. Bargain again in 2025.

2) UPSC votes No and National is approved. Local bargaining resumes until another Local Tentative Agreement is reached. We would expect the employer to come back with the same National Agreement. Based on historical reference, the likelihood is low that Kaiser would change the one National Agreement to be different for UPSC, according to Joe Guzynski, UNAC Executive Director and Jessica Ludd, UNAC attorney (during the 12/4/2021 UNAC Information meeting).

KP has no legal obligation to keep the National Tentative Agreement that we also rejected, including the 25 year step, according to Joe Guzynski. However, from his past experience in negotiating many contracts and in looking at other union contracts that were rejected, the employer and the union would focus on issues that were in disagreement and fix those. “Any effort by Kaiser to touch the UPSC Tentative Agreement regarding the 25 year wage step increase would be met with all out war from UNAC” stated Joe Guzynski, during the UNAC Information meeting on 12/4/2021.

3) UPSC votes No and National is rejected. Both National and local bargaining resume.

4) UPSC votes yes and National is rejected. National goes back to the bargaining table until a new National Tentative Agreement  is reached. It is unclear whether UPSC has to vote again, probably  yes beause there is a new National Tentative Agreement.

 III.)  Your UPSC Officers will hold 3 informational Townhall meetings on these 2021-2025 contract Tentative Agreements.

We are hoping UNAC communications will be able to eBlast all of our members next week. If they cannot, we will have to rely on ourselves to spread the word regarding the informational meetings through our FB page, UPSC webpage, steward email chain, and your own personal email chains.

We will also make available for review the UPSC Tentative Agreements via Memberlink (dependent on UNAC communications), the UPSC website or both. For now, mark your calendars for the Zoom meetings to be held by your UPSC Officers:

Thursday December 2nd 7:30 p.m. Join Zoom Meeting with UPSC Officers here
Saturday December 4th 10:00 a.m. Join Zoom Meeting with UPSC Officers here
Sunday December 5th 7:30 p.m. Join Zoom Meeting with UPSC Officers here

We rely on you to spread the word as UNAC has yet to agree to broadcast the times of these Officer Zoom meetings.

Lawrence Louie-President

Nancy Magnante-AmCare VP

Daniel Szeto-Inpatient VP

Michael Mattes-Outpatient VP

Max Wang-Secretary

Susan Chmait-Treasurer

Rebecca Myung-Steward Coordinator North

Kathie Varisco-Steward Coordinator South

Contact UPSC Officers here

A message from UPSC President Lawrence Louie, PharmD regarding the National Contract Tentative Agreements
11/13/2021

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:
  1. 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.
  2.  The ATBs and lump sums are subpar given that we are used to minimally 3% ATBs in non pandemic years.
  3. Many of the economic gains benefitted only the non UNAC unions within the Alliance.
  4. 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).
  5. The other Alliance unions are catching up to UNAC’s rich wages and benefits.
  6. First contracts for new UNAC chapters/affiliates HI/NCAL secured retirement protection, better wages, and improvements in medical.
  7. 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.
 

For MORE INFORMATION, click on

“Latest Bargaining Updates” above 

 

 

 

"WHY WE MUST STRIKE"

Voices Of UPSC

TESTOMONIALS SPOKEN FROM THE HEART OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES.

Stephanie Ellis, PharmD

Kern County-Bakersfield AmCare

“KP is currently comparing our wages to a flawed market study, claiming we are overpaid. If we accept a 2-tier wage system, they will be able to say we are overpaid compared to our very own coworkers in EVERY future negotiation. (And why wouldn’t those future pharmacists vote away our retirement to earn themselves pay increases? If we don’t stand up for them now, do we expect them to stand up for us in the future??)
This contract is NOT JUST about future employees, it is sets the stage for ALL of OUR contract negotiations to come.
KP has never “given” away great benefits packages. Our unions have fought for them, time and again, through the years. It’s OUR turn to fight for our profession.

Let’s keep KP the best place to work by asking them to invest in patient care! Please join me on the picket line at 7am November 15th!!”

Zdenka Manthei, PharmD

Riverside AmCare

“To help Kaiser stay affordable we agreed to let them take away our Retirement Health Care in the 2015 negotiations. Now the Employer tells us we are still not doing enough to help them save money!? How far will the taking go? It’s time to stand with our Union!”

Claire Fitz,
PharmD

Ontario Outpatient

“This fight is not just for ourselves and other pharmacists. We’re also fighting for the nurses and other health care professionals, just as they fought for us when we were bargaining our first UNAC contract.
The challenges the nurses have faced during Covid is humbling.
Unity in withholding our labor on November 15th is critical!”

Loan Vong,
PharmD

Downey Area, Cudahy Outpatient

“We were applauded as heroes, even before the pandemic.

And how are we being thanked and compensated? This is what Kaiser came up with?

This antiquated two tier pay that will introduce a host of disasters.

No way!” 

Nelson Soohoo, PharmD

San Diego Vandever Outpatient

“I believe in peace and above all doing what is right.
Then why are we striking? What are we fighting for? We are striking so that our message is taken seriously.
Who are we fighting for? I’m fighting for me, you, and all healthcare providers. This fight is about promoting the value of all healthcare providers. This fight is about protecting the safety of our patients.
Together our voices will be louder when we unite so that we can come to a fair resolution.
Join me and we unite on November 15, 2021!”

Angeline Tran,
PharmD

Downey AmCare

“We work at Kaiser because we all believe in its vision and purpose.
This strike is not about us against them. It’s about having a voice in our future and preserving the value of our profession for us and those who come after us. We must stand together to fight for ourselves and each other.
 Honestly, I am saddened and shocked after a perilous 20 months that we all been through, it has come to this.”

Eddy Pak, PharmD    LAMC Inpatient NICU

 

Dear colleagues,
And so it begins. Kaiser is taking drastic measures in preparation for the upcoming strike. Patients are being transferred to other hospitals, elective surgeries are being postponed, patients are not being admitted at some Kaiser hospitals, and this comes after Kaiser stated “If a strike actually occurs, our facilities will be staffed by our trained and experienced managers and the contingency staff we are bringing in as needed, and our physicians will continue to be available to care for patients.”
 
After enduring 20 months of pandemic, many of the healthcare workers are burned out, especially the nurses who took care of covid patients. These frontline nurses risked their lives and showed up to work despite lockdown and multiple covid surges. During the early phase of the pandemic, healthcare workers were hailed as heroes. Today, the same healthcare workers have become forgotten heroes. Due to mental and physical burnout, many nurses have quit or changed profession, leading to a nationwide shortage of nurses. However, during the same period, Kaiser did well financially. And while some industries rewarded their employees with either a raise or bonuses during the pandemic, Kaiser employees waited patiently until it was time to negotiate for a new contract.
 
So what does Kaiser do to reward their employees? With inflation soaring and employees feeling burned out, Kaiser begins negotiations with a threat of major across the board wage cuts, citing Kaiser employees are overpaid significantly compared to our counterparts. And to make matters worse, Kaiser is proposing a two tier wage system.
We’re at a major crossroads and the choices that we make today will have lasting consequences. Wage increase aside, the two tier wage system is a recipe for disaster. This will divide the employees and the union. And most importantly, this will definitely decrease the quality of patient care. Kaiser members will not have the same high quality of healthcare they come to expect if there’s division, resentment, and lack of teamwork within the Kaiser workforce. And if we accept the two tier wage system, we will be accepting terrible working conditions down the line. And it’s important to remember that Kaiser achieved its financial success and its status as a model HMO because of its dedicated employees and not because of their corporate bean counters.
 
We have to stay united and stay strong. And we have to support our nurses who risked their lives during the pandemic. We must not cross the line and embarrass our profession. We can’t be shortsighted and let Kaiser intimidate us. Kaiser cannot stay operational the longer the strike drags on. Other hospitals cannot accommodate their members as well as Kaiser patients. It’s not sustainable. This is not a battle just between Kaiser and its employees. The outcome of this strike will have a reverberating effect across the healthcare industry. And the pandemic is not over. As I write this, covid cases are rising again in the Inland Empire, and with upcoming major holidays, there may be another surge on the horizon.

Francis Ang ,
PharmD

Mail Order Processing Center

“It is not fair for the new employees to get lower wages. Recent consumer price index (CPI) shows a 6.2% increase, and Kaiser wants to cut new employees salaries. The inflation is here to stay and it is not transitory.
These new employees will also carry huge chunks of student debt. All the parents would understand. Our next generation will work hard in healthcare to give back to the community.
Healthcare workers were called heroes during pandemic and now we are being pushed aside. I do not support the 2 tier system.”

Sheree Chou,
PharmD

Downey Area, Garden Outpatient

I fully support our union because we are already under a lot of stress of insufficient staffing at work. If they cut wages for the new employees, then it would be even harder to find people.
We need to protect our patients’ safety. KP needs to hire more staff, and it is not fair to cut new employees’ wages. Thus, I do not support the 2 tier system. KP is trying to divide or break the union which is not acceptable.
Without the support of UNAC/UPSC we will never have any say or any justice or fair practice at KP.
Rumors say Managers and MDs are getting a higher % increase in wages. We, as pharmacists, were also in the front line during the pandemic and we should deserve a good % raise in wages as well.”

Lynette Varghese, PharmD

West LA AmCare

“I was part of the 2015 negotiation team, when we negotiated our first contract with UNAC. I was there when the other Coalition members willingly allowed their ER copays to go up in exchange for our pharmacists to have their pension restored. It was quite an amazing thing to see complete strangers make a sacrifice to help us.
Every pharmacist who had their pension restored owes a debt of gratitude to the other members of the Alliance and this is our chance to give back by supporting the strike.
During that negotiation, we also thought about our future colleagues and fought to ultimately secure a higher % contribution from Kaiser towards their retirement.”

Tuyen Nguyen, PharmD

Woodland Hills Outpatient

“We support the strike because we are deeply concerned with the direction of Kaiser in regards to patient safety.

As a seasoned pharmacist at Kaiser, I am being pushed beyond my limits. My commitment is to provide the best care and do no harm to my patients. When there is a potential for patient harm, it is my corresponding responsibility to involve other healthcare professionals. However, my performance is evaluated on how fast and how many prescriptions I dispense. It is reasonable to conclude that this work environment can lead to mistakes and patient harm.

We strike because we are exhausted with the understaffing due to the inappropriate work ratio.

We strike out of fear for our patients’ safety.

We strike to support our colleagues’ calls for Kaiser to treat us with professional respect, fairness and dignity.”

Christina Lin, PharmD

Riverside AmCare

“It’s so important we stand in solidarity for this strike, as this will be a defining moment in our history. Other large health care systems are closely watching to see how KP and our 30,000 strong union will handle this strike. Kaiser is a leader in the healthcare industry and is very influential in setting industry standards and wages.

If we let KP create this 2 tier system, other employers will follow suit, which will lead to a domino effect and eventually drive down wages for all healthcare workers across the industry. This is especially important for pharmacists, in light of the now 15 pharmacy schools that have opened in California, eventually leading to a surplus of pharmacists looking for employment and driving wages down even further.

This is one of the best chances we have to secure and prevent these lowered wages — we must stand next to the front line nurses and other health care professionals, who have sacrificed so much, in solidarity and as long as it takes, just as they stood next to us to win our pensions back.”

“Kaiser Permanente seems to have forgotten what our union members experienced, what you did to protect and care for Kaiser Permanente patients. All the hero signs and pizza parties do not begin to recognize the work and sacrifices of 2020 and 2021.”

  • Denise Duncan, President of UNAC/UHCP, at the historic March for the Future of Health Care 10.30.2021
 

At the National Bargaining economic subcommittee meeting on Nov. 2, 2021, KP made a new economic proposal for a four year national contract:

  • 2% lump sums year 3 and year 4 (only if the Alliance agrees to a two-tier lower wage scale). 
  • If no agreement, Kaiser will unilaterally impose a 15% lower two tier wage scale.
  • KP continues to ignore important union priorities like staffing, wage justice, and others

This is unacceptable. On November 4, 2021 at 4 p.m., we gave Kaiser Permanente 10 days notice of an unfair labor practice strike.

We join our Alliance siblings at USW and OFNHP to total over 32,000 members ready and willing to go on strike starting Mon., Nov. 15, at 7 a.m.

 
The Alliance is standing strong on its 4% per year wage proposal. KP’s proposal of a 2% per year wage increase and a 2% one time lump sum are not equivalent to a 4% raise. Due to inflation, management’s proposal is in fact a payout and a slap in the face.
 

Two Tier Wage Scale

  • it’s a union busting scheme 
  • beginning of the end of our union 
  • creates division among workers
  • leads to future take-aways
  • pushes out higher-paid employees
 

Lump sum payments

  • one time cash payment   
  • hourly rate is not increased and does not compound annually
  • negatively affects 401K and retirement pensions which is based on our final hourly rate
It is time. Let’s GO! We say NO to 2 tier and NO to Lump sum!! Together with the entire Alliance let’s show Kaiser that we’re a force to be reckoned with!!! Stay strong everyone!!!
 
United Pharmacists of Southern California, get READY to fight [the battle of our life!] (for what is right!) Strike begins 11/15/2021 7am(!)

click on “Latest Bargaining Updates” above for more info!

Pharmacists and union family at the historic March for the Future of Health Care       10.30.201

Solidarity Tuesdays! 

#InvestinPatientCare #BestCareBestJobs

Take action on Solidarity Tuesdays and wear your Union shirts, stickers and buttons to show that we’re united and ready to do whatever it takes for our patients and profession!

Send your pictures to:  websiteupsc@gmail.com

We Stand Together as one UPSC

Pharmacist Members
Work Locations
Stewards
UPSC

Together we support our fellow UPSC union brother and sister members as we  work in Partnership with our employer to ensure our Contract is upheld.  Click above if you’ve been given an assignment which you believe is potentially unsafe for you or your patients. 

CHLA community service 2019

We know our patients are not the only ones who need care.  UPSC is proud to give back to those facing difficult times in  our communities and neighborhoods. Click above to see how the donations of time, supplies and money from our UPSC members have helped our communities.

CA Legislative Day 2019 2

Supporting and defending our pharmacy profession in State government secures our future.  UPSC members can bring about legislative change in many ways. Click above to see the gains we have won and how you can become involved.

Member Empowerment

UPSC Stewards

Stewards are the “eyes and ears” of  UPSC, keeping track for the union of what’s happening on a day-to-day basis. Stewards make sure that the union members in their pharmacy locations are kept informed about what’s going on within the union. Per our National Contract, Steward time is paid by Kaiser.

Contract Knowledge

Learn your rights and benefits by reading your contract! All UPSC members should have received a physical copy of our contract in September 2020. If not, contact President Lawrence Louie upsc.lawrence.louie@gmail.com

Workplace Issues

See something that violates our National or UPSC Contract? First, document the discussion with your manager and then escalate to UPSC by either filling out the UPSC Staffing Objection Form or Contacting us directly.

COVID-19

During this COVID-19 pandemic, UPSC pharmacists continue to work diligently at a safe speed to ensure the safe and optimal health care for all patients, while achieving and maintaining the highest standards of pharmacy practice.

Know Your Weingarten Rights

 

Employees have rights during investigatory meeting/interviews. These rights are called
“Weingarten Rights” based on a 1975 Supreme Court decision.

If called into a meeting with your supervisor or manager to investigate a situation which might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights and should state:

“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, I respectfully request that my UPSC steward be present at the meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to respond to any questions or statements.”