With talks over a new labor agreement stalled, Kaiser Permanente workers, represented in Colorado by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), staged “informational” pickets today in front of two Kaiser offices in Denver.
The union alleges that Kaiser is proposing, among other things, to increase health insurance copays for employees, reducing benefits, while making record profits and giving its CEO a 60 percent raise last year.
Kaiser, a leading provider of healthcare, is offering workers the lowest pay increase in decades, according to SEIU.
In response, Kaiser issued a statement expressing disappointment “some union leaders are choosing to make false allegations and pursue an adversarial, destructive approach as part of their bargaining strategy.”
Kaiser said it’s a non-profit organization that dedicates its revenues to its healthcare services, its members, and their communities.
“We are all here for our patients – not to earn a profit or pay shareholders. Kaiser Permanente, like other health plans, maintains financial reserves to cover our obligations if something unexpected were to occur or if regular business was interrupted,” the organization stated.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado did not respond to a request to verify that it gave its CEO at the national level a 60 percent pay raise last year.
“Caregivers across the state are ready to do what it takes, up to and including going on strike to win a contract that allows them to better do their jobs, take care of our communities, and feed their families,” states an SEIU news release.
In Colorado, SEIU Local 105 represents 3,500 Kaiser Permanente workers, who are among 85,000 unionized employees nationally.
The growing healthcare company covers 12.2 million members nationally, up from 12.1 million last year.