KAISER PERMANENTE: CALLS FOR 15% CUT IN NURSES’ PAY
In the "latest round in a stormy continuing battle" betweenThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association, Kaiser
proposed yesterday a pay reduction of "more than 15% for 3,000 of
its Northern California nurses." SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE reports
that the move came as "part of a broad package of suggested
concessions that the nurses' union said was designed to provoke a
strike." Kaiser officials, who said that their nurses are "paid
significantly more" than those at other health care companies,
said the proposal "was an effort to bring their costs in line
with other players in the competitive health care market."
OTHER CONCESSIONS: CHRONICLE reports that Kaiser "also
sought other concessions," including increased health insurance
co-payments for part-time nurses, the implementation of a new
plan "to link nurses' pay to their own and Kaiser's performance,"
the discontinuation of overtime pay for nurse practitioners and
"cuts in medical benefits for some retired nurses." Kaiser
spokesperson Tom Debley said, "We've been telling all our
employees for more than two years that we need to cut costs to
remain viable as an institution. The last thing we would want is
a strike, or anything other [than] a negotiated contract."
However, Rose Anne DeMoro, executive director of the California
Nurses Association, said, "Kaiser is absolutely trying to provoke
a strike. They would like to be able to drag anyone off the
street and pay them minimum wage and call them a 'patient care
Whatever.' But more importantly, they are trying to silence the
registered nurses who have taken the lead in speaking out on
behalf of patient care and the public" (DeBare, 1/10).