Kaiser Permanente Said To Consider Layoffs for Unionized Employees
Kaiser Permanente is in discussions with unions about possible layoffs and other cost-cutting measures that could help the Oakland-based HMO balance its budget, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Over recent months, Kaiser's membership and patient volume have declined significantly. The company already has deferred certain merit pay increases for non-union personnel, delayed some capital projects and reduced staff numbers through attrition and limited hiring.
Unemployment rates and California's budget cuts are placing additional strain on the health system, which expects to see falling revenue in 2009 and 2010.
On Friday, Kaiser is scheduled to release second-quarter financial reports, which could offer insights into plans for layoffs and other actions.
Some observers say the company is likely to eliminate very few positions, while others place the figure as high as 1,800.
Union Workers Prepare To Defend Jobs
Leaders from an AFL-CIO coalition, the California Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West are working to dissuade Kaiser from cutting jobs.
Proposed alternatives to the layoffs include voluntary severance, job shifting and efficiency measures.Kaiser has participated in meetings and informal discussions with union leaders about various proposals to reduce company expenditures (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/31). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.