Bargaining Update: Spotlight on Operational and Service Excellence in Partnership

Caspar YuNearly 200 people from Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions continued 2015 National Bargaining this week in Los Angeles. Negotiators broke into subgroups to finalize their bargaining recommendations, which will determine the 2015 National Agreement and shape the future of the Labor Management Partnership.

See this week’s bargaining action in a new slide show.

In addition to wages and benefits, 2015 negotiations focus on three topics:

•    Work of the Future
•    Total Health and Workplace Safety
•    Operational and Service Excellence in Partnership

Operational and Service Excellence in Partnership

Improving performance and strengthening partnership is the work of the Operational and Service Excellence in Partnership subgroup—one of three subgroups in national bargaining. The group made recommendations on topics including improving learning, accountability, problem-solving, consistency, flexibility and support for unit-based teams.

For unit-based teams, subgroup members suggested ways to improve the spread of practices from one team to another and to ensure that UBT assessments accurately reflect performance.

“We are really making progress,” said Holly Davenport, a union representative for UFCW Local 770 in Southern California.  “We’re having good discussions that can help people back at work overcome barriers in their day-to-day UBT work and make their lives easier and better.”

The subgroup also looked at ways to improve partnership at all levels of Kaiser Permanente, and at the elements—from tools to training—that affect its success. “Our group is trying to establish the principles of partnership and ensure they’re applied consistently across regions,” said Rita Essaian, an executive administrator with Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

Many of this year’s negotiators are new to bargaining in partnership, including manager Casper Yu, a director of Dental Sales and Marketing in the Northwest. “I love how this process works,” he said. “We negotiate and still come out with great personal and working relationships. I tell people, ‘This is what it truly means to be in partnership. I get it now.’”

The next National Bargaining session will take place from June 3-5.