Kaiser Permanente plans to lay off hundreds of workers in the Gulf region and beyond.
In an email to union members on Friday, SEIU-UHW said it had received 60 days notice of the health giant’s plan to eliminate the positions of 231 workers in the Northern California region. Kaiser, the union said, would notify those affected on Monday, including in the Gulf region.
In a note, the union called the move an “attack” on workers that came after months of sacrifice during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement Friday, Kaiser acknowledged the cuts, saying it was part of a reorganization to reduce duplication of mostly administrative and support positions.
The union urged its members not to panic, saying it planned to work with Kaiser to train and accommodate those affected at similar jobs. Next week, the union said it would meet with Kaiser to try to negotiate alternatives to the cuts. He was in the process of contacting workers who are expected to be laid off next week.
Georgette Bradford works for Kaiser in Sacramento as an ultrasound technologist and said Kaiser would often be involved in negotiations with the union for weeks or months ahead of time, but this time he was “blinding”
“The heartlessness of how Kaiser did this just amazes me,” said Bradford, who is not on the list to be released, adding that workers are tired and stressed about the pandemic. “After all this, let’s think that we can finally breathe and then be slapped in the face with something like that.”
More than a dozen employees at her medical center are facing layoffs, Bradford said.
As with other healthcare providers, the pandemic dealt a financial blow to Kaiser as selectable operations and many other types of meetings stopped in 2020. But the company still raised $ 6.4 billion in net profit and ended the year with a 2.5% operation margin
“Even our extraordinary sacrifice during this pandemic does not exceed Kaiser’s focus on its bottom,” the union note said.
Amid the cuts, Kaiser said it continues to grow.
“We continue to be one of the largest private employers in California with more than 149,000 employees and 16,000 doctors in the state,” the company said in a statement. “We continue to add jobs, and there are currently over 2,300 vacancies in the state.”
The positions that need to be eliminated are mostly non-clinical positions, Kaiser said, adding that “In any reorganization of staff, we are committed – and with great success – to working with staff to identify other positions in Kaiser Permanente in order to we transfer them. And if we are unable to do so, we provide benefits to eligible employees, which typically include education and training benefits, replacement services, and up to one year of salaries and benefits.
It was not immediately clear where the affected workers were.
The Auckland-based health care system serves more than 12 million members. Kaiser is not alone in planning layoffs. Across the Gulf, companies – including some in the technology sector and Target – have recently uncovered layoffs.
“Although these changes will represent a very small percentage of our workforce, we do not take them lightly and always consider the support that our valuable colleagues will need as a result of these decisions,” Kaiser said. “We recognize the incredible contributions of all our employees, who have performed admirably, especially over the past year, and we are committed to providing comprehensive and personalized support.”
Staff writer Julia Prodis Sulek contributed to this report.