Local 555 is now bargaining with Kaiser on its own after withdrawing last month from the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, a group of unions that bargains a national Kaiser contract for Kaiser employees in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
“We want to bargain for our people ourselves, instead of having a coalition agreement,” said Local 555 spokesperson Miles Eshaia. “We feel we can better serve our membership by bargaining for our members directly.”
For two decades, the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions represented substantially all unionized workers at Kaiser, but in March 2018, 22 of its 35 affiliated locals withdrew, removing 45,000 of its 115,000 members. The breakaway unions included locals of UFCW and six other internationals; those remaining in the coalition were locals of SEIU, Office and Professional Employees, and IFTPE. The breakaway unions eventually established a second bargaining coalition known as the Alliance of Health Care Unions. UFCW Local 555 left the Alliance of Health Care Unions in January 2020 and returned to the original coalition; the 11 other UFCW locals remained. Now Local 555 has left the original coalition as well.