Saturday, March 21, 2009
One of the main reasons for Kaiser Permanente's success over the past decade has been the Labor-Management Partnership, or LMP.
The LMP was born out of the labor turmoil that hit KP in NorCal and Portland in the late 1980's and SoCal in the mid-1990's. All parties figured out that the conflict between KP management and KP labor was going to end up killing both entities. So, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions and KP came together to hammer out a national agreement in 1997, which was renewed in 2000, and renewed again in 2005.
The basic premise of the LMP approach is that "labor" and "management" work together in "partnership." Yes, it seems a bit reflexive in its logical approach, but that is what has been helping keep KP's head above water on an operational basis for the last decade-plus, not to mention the consistently improving quality scores despite having some of the lowest costs in the industry.
Now, none of this can be done in a vacuum. For this approach to work, there has to be active support from KP management, and there also has to be active support from the unions. The support from the union side is supported by both the elected stewards and the elected rank-and-file representatives.
And that, my friends, is where things are breaking down right now, courtesy of Zombie UHW and the Purple Plague, who are now busily removing any rank-and-file elected steward that doesn't hue to the SEIU line.
Stewards all around KP are receiving letters like the one below:
In order to avoid receiving one of the above letters, you are required to openly swear fealty to SEIU, and to actively work against the stated interest of your peers if their wish is to leave SEIU and to affiliate with NUHW. You must work alongside Zombie UHW scabs, and you must inform SEIU of any of your colleagues who may be working on the behalf of NUHW.
I might add that the individual who received the above letter has been described by Zombie UHW staffer scabs as having "quit" their positions as steward and contract specialist, even though the letter explicitly states that they were relieved of those duties.
Not surprisingly, the steward system is breaking down all across the KaiPerm system. Steward councils have either been fired or have resigned all across KaiPerm in Northern California.
Without rank-and-file elected stewards, the LMP process simply cannot work. SEIU is well aware of this fact, but they don't care - they think that they know better.
Over a decade of hard work and trust is in jeopardy of being flushed down the toilet so that Our Glorious Maximum Leader could staple Sal Rosselli's scalp to the wall.