Monday, July 27, 2009

Stirring The Pot

A nice little crapstorm wound its way through the Northern California offices of KaiPerm today, mostly because one knucklehead at Zombie UHW decided to start bumping her gums, and people not supporting the Plague heard what she was saying, and put out a memo in that regard, which we'll go through section by section...
Nancy’s Big Announcement—Is it Real or Just Another Scare Tactic. On July 22 stewards reported that Nancy Barrett, SEIU Business Agent, announced to the Santa Rosa Steward Council that decisions have already been made regarding Pharmacy and EVS regarding job eliminations. She said Kaiser and SEIU will announce this on August 3. Is this the way Kaiser and SEIU do business? They let one rep at one facility make this type of announcement? And if Nancy knows, other SEIU reps know as well. Why aren’t they sharing this information with the members? Why isn’t Kaiser? Nancy is the spokesperson for both organizations? But then again, is it just another scare tactic of SEIU or another backroom deal?
Oh, perhaps. That's kind of SEIU's modus operandi whilst playing Gepetto to UHW's Pinnochio. But, of course, there's more...
Enterprise Negotiations Are a Farce. We don’t know if it is true because you can’t believe anything SEIU says, but it is reported that Nancy says that Kaiser and SEIU have already determined that, Region-wide, they will eliminate approximately 600 positions. This means that the negotiations they will be conducting will be like the pension negotiations. The backroom deal has already been cut and the negotiations are just window dressing to try to fool us. The positions Nancy says will be eliminated are:

1.) 188 EVS positions,
2.) 91 Unit Assistant positions, and
3.) Remaining 330 from various classifications including HIM Coders, Business Office, Medical Imaging, Operators, Pharmacy Clerks, and LVNs

So the negotiations they are asking folks to participate in are a farce. The decision is made.
This goes right back to the concept of LMP being dead and buried within KaiPerm in the wake of the Trusteeship.
Are We Talking Job Eliminations or Just Restructuring? How dramatic would the cutbacks be, if this were true? There are about 20 Medical Centers in Northern California. In EVS that means about 9 positions per facility, more or less. Kaiser could take care of that through attrition. In the case of Unit Assistants, that would mean two per Medical Center that would be eliminated. Again, attrition could be used—as a person leaves, he/she is not replaced. We know we have the TAP package in our contract that could be offered to folks who would love to retire early with full medical benefits for life.

Since the numbers for job elimination are so small is this an excuse to make workers speed up and do more?
This is already being seen with the coders, who are being "asked" to adhere to with productivity standards that have yet to be voted upon by the coders in KP NorCal - even though the current tentative agreement explicitly states that the productivity language is subject to both a) ratification (which has not happened yet); and b) annual review (which is not going to happen while SEIU's in charge). Additional productivity is also being asked of staff in recently expanded medical centers such as South Sacramento and Roseville in order to cover for greatly expanded facilities without adding staff to help cushion that workload blow.
Know Your Rights
1. SEIU pretends there is no “Employment and Income Security.” Read it for yourself and hold both Kaiser and SEIU accountable. In the National Agreement we have the absolute right to training, redeployment and work for up to a year if our job is eliminated. (Click Here to read the EIS language from the National Agreement)
2. TAP and Voluntary Separation. Read page 397 of our contract (3. Health Benefits) that guarantees health benefits for life for workers who choose to retire early and who are retirement eligible. (55 years of age +15 years of employment). Also, workers get 1 week’s pay for each year of service up to 6 months’ pay.

Again, we don’t know that what Nancy says is true but what a screwed up way to inform workers of job eliminations. It would appear that along with not trusting SEIU we cannot trust Kaiser either. Kaiser is not such a good place to work if backroom deals seem to be the norm.
One other question that begs to be answered by the nice folks at KP has to do largely with KP's performance of late - which has been doing quite nicely of late, especially after the stock market crash. It looks like Greg Adams may indeed be keeping it more than real, ya know?
Kaiser’s Financial Status—Doing Great! So Why Job Eliminations?
Just this year Kaiser announced that it had increased operating revenues from 10.1 to 10.6 billion dollars and its operating income from 545 million to 624 million. Compared to this great financial report, 600 positions are small potatoes. Kaiser needs to share the wealth.
Okay, then.

Overall, I believe that most of this - especially the part dealing with Nancy Barrett - is largely meant to create a problem for which only SEIU can provide a solution. They know that they're getting their asses kicked in and out of Kaiser, and in order to get back into the good graces of the Kaiser workforce, SEIU has to look like a Saviour of Jobs to people.

What better way than to announce far and wide that Kaiser is fixing to immediately break a whole bunch of people off (notwithstanding the precise language in the current and binding contract which governs how that process is supposed to work), whereupon SEIU can step in and claim that they "stopped" the layoffs?

The fact that they were and are the source of the layoff rumors seems to matter not to the Plague, but it does matter to people who actually have to work at Kaiser, and who have to work with, and sometimes reassure and calm down, good and honest people who are now thinking that their union is hell-bent on letting KaiPerm lay them off.

Simply put, I think this whole business will eventually prove out to be a case of SEIU just stirring the pot and keeping the rank-and-file agitated, so that when the decert petitions start circulating again next month, they will try to position themselves as a necessary element to hold back the Kaiser Management Horde from mass layoffs - even though the current contract, if fully and reliably enforced as currently written, would do just that, and without the need to stir everyone up.

But there's no percentage for SEIU in enforcing an already-existing contract, is there?

All in all, a very poor showing on the part of both KaiPerm and SEIU. Again, the KaiPerm higher-ups will always proclaim neutrality, but their actions just keep betraying their true intention.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy Barret never was the sharpest tool in the shed.
    She can put out a lot of hot air, but that's about it.
    Push her a little and she will lose control fast.
    As to the theory she's being used by the trustees to set up a bogus crisis so they can then come to the rescue, I'm sure Nancy has no clue.


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