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2007: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente Logo

American Rights at work honors Kaiser Permanente for creating a management-union partnership based on mutual trust and respect.

Kaiser Permanente, one of America's leading integrated healthcare organizations, is also a noteworthy example of U.S. labor-management cooperation.  The nonprofit organization serves over 8.6 million health plan members with affordable, high-quality healthcare services.  For the past decade, company management and the coalition of unions representing 90,000 healthcare workers and support staff have crafted a partnership that solves problems, improves patient care, and makes Kaiser Permanente a better workplace.

Working together has produced impressive results. Kaiser Permanente reports a 20 percent reduction in workplace injuries, an increase in patient satisfaction, impressive cost reductions while accelerating services, and improved job satisfaction and retention since the partnership began.  "Employees represented by the union coalition are committed to a high-performance vision," says John August, Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.  "Workers want to perform and do the best job that they can." 

The value of partnership has led Kaiser Permanente to give workers a free choice and fair chance to form unions by remaining neutral during organizing campaigns and recognizing unions through the majority sign-up process.  "We not only believe it's the fair thing to do, we also believe it's the right thing to do for our employees, our health plan members, and also our business," says Lon O'Neil, Senior Vice President for Human Resources.

Kaiser Permanente demonstrated its commitment to the freedom of association in October 2006, when a National Labor Relations Board decision broadened the definition of supervisors in a manner that could deny thousands of nurses the right to belong to a union.  The company declared that the decision has no effect on employees in the partnership, and agreed not to challenge the status of any current bargaining unit position's job classifications or duties.

Headquartered in CA, Kaiser Permanente's employees are represented by AFSCME, AFT, IBT, IFPTE, ILWU,KPNAA, OPEIU, SEIU, UAN, UFCW, and USW.