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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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UncategorizedKaiser is big, rich, and can afford to meet...

Kaiser is big, rich, and can afford to meet the nurses’ union demands

Nurses on the picket line: Kaiser is in no position to claim poverty
Nurses on the picket line: Kaiser is in no position to claim poverty

By Tim Redmond

NOVEMBER 17, 2014 – The two-day strike by nurses at Kaiser attracted a fair amount of news coverage – and forced the health-care giant to take out big, expensive newspaper ads presenting its side of the story.

And nurses have successfully pushed the Brown Administration to adopt new statewide rules to protect health-care providers from Ebola and other infectious diseases.

But there hasn’t been much attention to the fascinating aspect of the Kaiser labor struggle: The outfit the nurses are fighting portrays itself as a nonprofit – a tax-exempt organization created for a public benefit. But its finances, and its operations, are much more like a big for-profit corporation.

In fact, Kaiser reports its operating revenue with the same types of language we hear from traditional corporations. And while small nonprofits can argue that they lack the money to provide good wages and benefits to workers, Kaiser is literally awash in cash.

More: The nurses aren’t even asking for a raise. They just want to keep their existing pay and benefits – and they want new rules to provide better staffing levels for patient safety.

And the head of the Kaiser doctors has made it clear that he doesn’t think management can reach a deal with the nurses and is planning for a strike later this year or in early 2015.

Kaiser isn’t one entity; it’s a conglomeration of for-profit and nonprofit corporations that include a venture-capital arm and a separate insurance arm. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plans are nonprofits that run the hospitals and handle the health-insurance payments. Then there are the Permanente Medical Groups, owned by doctors, that have exclusive contracts to provide medical services to the hospitals.

So the doctors who work at Kaiser typically aren’t employees of KFH or KFHP – but the nurses are.

Kaiser’s a big, big operation – and getting bigger. As a nonprofit, KFPH has to file a federal Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service listing its revenue, expenses, top employees, directors, and lots of other information. The most recent one on file with the Foundation Center, which tracks this stuff, is 2012, and you can see it here.

Among other things, the 2012 document shows $39.9 billion in revenue and $565 million in what a normal corporation would call “profits” – that is, money left over after all the expenses are paid.

Kaiser, of course, pays no taxes on that money.

The 990 form shows how much money the senior executives make, and they aren’t missing any meals: Board members, who work only a few hours a week, made around $240,000 a year. The CEO, George Halvorson, made $9 million.

And that was before the Affordable Care Act came into the picture.

With the ACA requiring all Americans to have health insurance, Kaiser has seen a huge windfall – 30,000 new members in just 2013. That was a banner year, the organization says, with total combined revenues of $53 billion and operating income (that’s “profit” by another name) of  $1.8 billion.

In a glowing Feb. 14, 2014 press release, Kaiser extols its financial health and stability:

“In 2013, we maintained a consistent operating income as a percent of revenue; it is at a level that allows us to continue making investments in the facilities, technology and care advances that meet the needs of our members, customers and communities,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Kathy Lancaster.

But that’s not what employees are hearing. “We were all taken out to a big meeting and told that we are ‘in turbulent times’ and that we have to be more competitive,” Rebecca Goldfader, a nurse practitioner, told me.

In fact, she said, management told her and others that they have to see even more patients every day. Under normal rules, she gets only 15 minutes per patient – “and they told us to squeeze in one more every morning and afternoon.”

The union isn’t asking for more money. The proposals the nurses put forward – there are 39 of them – are all about patient care and staffing. And despite the media coverage, it’s not all about Ebola.

“These came after extensive interviews with nurses,” Goldfader said. “They are areas where there was a need for more staffing, more time.

“We are understaffed,” she said. “Nurses come in for extra shifts every day.”

Kaiser insists that it is bargaining in good faith and trying to reach an agreement. In a press statement, the organization says that

“We believe, and our nurses know, that Kaiser Permanente is one of the best-staffed health care systems in California and the nation. Our nurse staffing always meets, and often exceeds, state-required levels.”

But “staffing” could mean nurses working extra shifts and overtime – which Goldfader says isn’t the best for patient care. “The patients lose completely,” shge told me.

Kaiser says it has “responded to” every one of the union demands. But that doesn’t mean the organization has accepted or made any efforts to work with those demands. “No” is also a response.

In a remarkable, stunning set of statements, Dr. Robert Pearl, the head of the Permanente Medical Group, insists that everything is peachy, that people are joining Kaiser in droves – and that the only problem is that the nurses are going to go on strike and there’s no way to resolve the labor issue.

Check out the video of Sal Roselli, head of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, responding to Pearl here.

“There are all these new patients from the ACA,” Goldfader says. “Nurses and nurse practitioners are asking for more than 15 minutes to see them.”

And it seems pretty clear that Kaiser has the money to do that.

 

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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110 COMMENTS

  1. While I respect endeavors in business efficiency and cost containment, people seeking medical care cannot be CARED FOR well when they are treated like widgets on an assembly line. if you agree with paying more money in your copayments for a lesser standard of care (no RN, all nursing assistants in clinics, a public health standard of care for more money, every 7.5 minutes) – well, you’re just plain strange. You want quality anything, pay the people (RNs) who’ve gone through many years of education, and literally, cared for people through their and our own blood, sweat and tears, and have the HEART to be at the bedside to apply science and education while we also hold the hands, bathe the bodies of and provide general comfort to you and your loved ones. RNs are always the 1st to be blamed for the high costs of medical care; if you agree with this handy, repetetively touted, yet highly incorrect, lame, never-ending presentation of non-facts, it just makes your ignorance of the shell-game being played on you extremely transparent to those of us who know the real deal. Go ahead, pay through the nose for less care. Or you could actually attempt to become educated before you blather on about something critical, which you know not of. What a load…..

  2. It is a very interesting discussion going on in here, but What I can see is that some posts in favor of the KP management or administration are against nurses because their pay, pension and benefits. According to them they are pay too much and need to get on line, like most of Americans that have succumbed to the PR tactics and lies of corporate America, and have lost their pay, pensions and benefits. First at all these benefits were bargaining from past negotiations and the pension, salaries and benefits had been paid by being part of the expenses of doing business, it is part of the operational budget. Kaiser in the past have make this investments with the promise to make Kaiser the best place to receive healthcare and the best place to work. A win win situation, and there is no doubt that workers at Kaiser have delivered their promise and Kaiser is the biggest HMO in America and get praise at every opportunity. Kaiser is not hurting for revenue or healthy margins in the past they ( administrators) were happy with three months savings just to keep working and survive in the healthcare industry. Now days they have savings for 10 years, they actually can provide healthcare services for their membership for the next 10 years and do not have the need to charge a penny for premium. This is how rich they are, but they are been inundated by a corporate mentality and people were cutting cost will yield more profits and an all assault mentality of cutting cost in decreased their liability as a tactic has been implemented. Reduce patient- Dr. Ratio time, reduce benefits, delayed care, implement unilateral cuts in pension and increase price. There is a new mentality in Kaiser were patient care is not the goal and workers benefits are in the crosshairs .

  3. Diane, I take it you cannot refute anything I said because you felt the need to instead resort to a personal attack.

    But for the record, my feelings aren’t hurt at all. I enjoy the cut and thrust of a debate, and I have no stake in the outcome.

  4. You are right Sam, I am am paid what I’m worth. > 95k per year. I earn it. Because of forced overtime. Overtime I do not want. So from what you say here, we RNs should abandon our pt so we won’t make as much money. Kaiser began this pay and benefits to ATTRACT RNs 15 years ago. now Kp wants to retract now that they got them. Lol…. Like I said below, I don’t want more time, not money. I don’t need it. More time is what the Patients need. And the police officers? And firemen? I suppose they don’t deserve their EARNINGS either. You sound like a very bitter person. I hope you need an RN at Kp soon. Then you’ll know what it’s like to sit on your full bedpan with no one to remove it or wipe your ass. Maybe the janitor will help you.

  5. Who said anything about downtime? I have forced overtime every day. OT that I do not want or need.
    That’s is due to chronic understaffing. And having to “cover LVNs” and their work too. You know not what you talk about.

  6. Sam,
    If You can’t take the heat stay out of the Kitchen Sam.The truth hurts you ? So sorry your feelings were hurt sam?! You are so way off the grid with your remarks. They show you have no clue except that you want to be judge and jury . HA!

  7. Real Deal, you are paid what you are worth, and not what you think you need to live off.

    Diane, if being abusive to anyone who critiques you is your strategy for winning over the hearts and minds of the public, then I can only tell you that are failing.

  8. I was curious to see if you’d be willing to believe that so I set a trap. I am flattered that you think my posts are worth paying for, but the pleasure of debunking your arguments is sufficient reward.

    Thanks for not denying that you are a healthcare workers. That helps.

  9. Bev, what I hear you saying is that the lives nurses are caring for and sometime saving, are not worth what they are paid. Wow! Remember that if you are, GOD forbid ever needing lifesaving measures. These nurses are only asking for patient safety provisions, such as a non-mainstream time limit with their patients. As a patient, I would like to have the time needed to get my questions answered and not be rushed out.

  10. i guess you have to work somewhere else to experience the real world of nursing…. i pity you! at least you have time to count during your downtime!

  11. This a response to SAM—The very fact that you SAM, are clueless, INVALIDATES your input.
    On that day Sam when you need me to save your life , think about how much I am paid… why don’t you! I save lives EVERY day.

  12. Since when does a registered nurse not have to have a degree? Not only do they need a degree, they have to successfully pass State Board exam and be licensed in whatever state they are practicing. Sam you are totally ignorant of what it takes to be a nurse.

  13. It may matter at the margin but, even then, it’s more for customers and investors than staff.

    People are a lot less sympathetic to strikers than they used to be, not least because most workers no longer have unions or collective bargaining, and do not like the inconvenience caused by strikes, and especially when it impacts health issues.

    If a nurse isn’t happy at Kaiser, she should get a job somewhere else

  14. Many of the problems you decribe are true of any HMO. It’s not an entirely ideal vehicle for delivering healthcare and, personally, I would not subscribe to one. It’s more like the socialized systems in Europe which are often over-whelmed by demand because they are cheap or free.

    Your pay is a matter between you and your employer. It depends less on your own sense of self-worth and more on how cheaply you could be replaced.

  15. “I wouldn’t be doing my job here if I didn’t expose your prejudices.”

    So you admit that you’re actually paid to get on forums and discredit people who advocate progressive points of view. Others have accused you of being a paid troll; I’ve reserved judgment, but I’ve been starting to lean in that direction myself -to post as repetitively and prolifically on a forum you hate, would require a person who is either mentally unstable, or paid.

  16. Sorry, but you have no clue to what you are talking about! I don’t know where you were supposedly hospitalized, but nurses do not make 75.00 an hour, but we deserve it. You wouldn’t understand the complexity of the job; everyday countless lives are saved by the nurses. I don’t remember the last time I had a break, or a lunch or dinner. Everytime I left the hospital, I knew that I had earned every penny on my paycheck. Sadly, though we deal with life and death and potential personal risks everyday, we remain invisible to the general public.

  17. wow…..Allow me to give you a window into my “world”. The rule of the day at Kaiser is deny,deny,delay,delay and make huge profits while doing it. I am a nurse and proud of the care I give my patients.Last week,I had a patient that was admitted after going to the ER 5 times(with huge co-pays with each visit.)The delay in addressing her medical needs were significant and made her stay with us a difficult one. Cutting corners seems to be the rule of the day if you are trying to make it to the end of the shift without claiming overtime. You simply have no time to document your care unless you hide in an empty room and do your charting. I go home and replay my 8hours….what did I forget? Did I give a good report to the oncoming shift? I often call my unit after I get home and check on my patients….You think this is a safe environment for your loved ones? I simply want to be at the bedisde to take care of your needs.What keeps me going strong? I love what I do and work with an amazing group of nurses . Every patient deserves my full undivided attention and you are not always going to get it if we do not fight for better working conditions.

  18. Why did you leave Kaiser? Fired for being lazy? Or tired of earning a living wage for california? Perhaps you did not feel you were worth it. I’ve earned my wages Ty very much.

  19. I work for TPMG, for profit. Yesterday I saw 57 patients in a 8hour day. Now you tell me how I can possibly give each one of them what they NEED. These patients are booked 5 minutes apart! I had 61 pts on my schedule and grateful 4 of them did not show up. Pts in my dept are waiting 30-40 minutes because all of us are behind schedule, everyday! Pts also leave without being seen due to waiting.
    I don’t want more money, I want more time to give what is needed. Alas, I am told “this is the expectation of TPMG and KP” when I read my job description, written by KP, it is hypocracy to say the least. The older MDs with the most experience are going part time or retiring all together.
    Sad,sad,sad…

  20. It doesn’t matter what you or I think abut nurses’ pay. That is a matter between the nurses and their employer. It’s not up for debate or a vote.

    But judging by the comments on this thread, many people are not on the nurses’ side here, for the reasons given.

  21. But who you are matters. It informs who you are and how you think. So knowing that you are a health-care worker who grew up under Soviet rule leads to at least two additional biases over and above the more obvious ones we see here every day.

    You can’t post here a dozen times a day without expecting some blowback. And I wouldn’t be doing my job here if I didn’t expose your prejudices.

  22. Asking to work less for the same is the same as asking for more pay. This isn’t about the patients – that’s a self-serving crock.

  23. WOW, you know every nurse at Kaiser!?! Impressive. That they are all lazy is amazing. I suppose you were also while you were there since it only afflicts Kaiser nurses.

  24. So all nurses should be painted with the same brush as the few bad ones you had? I know some McDonalds employees that don’t hardly lift a finger. BTW – they have degrees and an education, certifications they have to keep up in order to do their jobs. So yes, they earned higher pay than a mcdonalds worker. Also the cost of living in this area is insane. You try to just live normally on $100k a year here with a family.

    Then next time you are hospitalized make sure you request no nurses, just those paid $20 or so to take care of you. Since it is such an easy job.

  25. This might come as news to you, but libertarian internet trolls aren’t a very good mirror of public support. You’re living in another universe if you don’t think the San Francisco public would side with the nurses on patient safety, staffing, and yes, fair compensation for the hard work they do.

  26. Used to work at Kaiser – the nurses are the highest paid in the state and the laziest! Yes our job is hard (I am a nurse too) but at kaiser they want to do minimal work for more pay. I don’t fee l sorry for them at all

  27. “Sorry, Greg, but another poster here exposed you as an emigree from Ukraine.”

    I had a pretty good laugh when I saw the post, because that poster clearly has no clue who I am.

    “I notice that you ducked my question about whether you worked in healthcare.”

    Didn’t “duck.” I just prefer not to make it about me, because it’s irrelevant to my argument. You waste no opportunity to turn a political debate into an ad hominem attack; but the reason I respect nurses, more than say, techies, has nothing to do what field I work in. It’s because, in contrast to people like yourself who idolize making money for the sake of making money, I respect people who do work that helps others. And nurses are some of the most caring and hardworking people I know.

    “Given that the last time you ducked my question (about immigrating here from the Soviet bloc) you were proven 100% wrong”

    Again, didn’t “duck,” and your “proof” was some other anonymous poster… or more likely, you under a different name. Thing is, if I make it about me, then people like you will just find an angle for an ad hominem attack. If I work in the public sector, you’d say that I’m sucking off the public teat. If I turn out to be a venture capitalist or a landlord, you’d call me a hypocrite. If I turn out to be Mother Theresa, you’d find a way to disparage that. So I don’t even want to go there. Evaluate my arguments on the merits.

    As to where I’m from, sometimes I’d love to say. You’d probably be very surprised. But again, I don’t want to go there, because I’m sure you’ll find an ad hominem no matter where I’m from. If trolls are good at one thing, that’s finding an ad hominem attack to derail the discussion. So if you want to think I’m from the Ukraine, be my guest. What do I care what you think?

    Go ahead now, have the last word… or 500.

  28. That’s what probably is needed if we go by your reasoning and jealousy of the pay for nurses. So everybody might have more equitable pay?

  29. Sorry, Greg, but another poster here exposed you as an emigree from Ukraine. Are you denying that formally and publically? Unless, you are than what i said is not an assumption, it is the truth.

    I haven’t heard anyone here claiming that nurses aren’t well paid. They may not all make 250K as in the cases I cited, but they do fine.

    Doctors make plenty of money unless they want to go into some low-profile speciality like dermatology. I now a few doctors and they make up to 500K a year. Cry me a freaking river.

    I notice that you ducked my question about whether you worked in healthcare. Given that the last time you ducked my question (about immigrating here from the Soviet bloc) you were proven 100% wrong, i think readers can safely assume you have skin in this game.

    So sure, given that you work in healthcare you think those who work in tech are somehow less worthy than those who claim to heal. Explain to me why personal bias macht truth.

  30. The nurses are not asking for higher wages they are asking for more time and staffing to better care for their patients.

  31. “As always, Greg, you are so wed to your hard-line Soviet-style of socialism that you do not understand something much more important – the American sense of fair play. Now perhaps that isn’t as inbred in you as in the rest of us, who had the benefit of growing up in the great nation. But clearly you saw value in our values, because you chose to relocate here from a nation that had policies much more akin to what you advocate.”

    Unless of course your assumptions about me are incorrect. I don’t really care either way what you assume about me.

    “For instance, I just looked at the pay scales for nurses at UCSF (because they publish detailed stats) and the scale for a nurse with supervisory duties extends up to 250K a year. That’s a heck of a good income for someone who doesn’t need to a college degree.”

    I don’t know what you mean by “extends to,” or if it’s even remotely true. But if that’s the case, I’m sure that it’s an extreme case for someone who is performing a job with tremendous amounts of responsibility. It takes a lot of education, btw, to become an RN. More than other similarly paid professionals, like a programmer, or a cop.

    “For doctors, of course, the sky is the limit and 200K a year is probably a minimum for many fresh out of med school.”

    That’s simply not true. Doctors, particularly those who aren’t specialists, make less. And they work an average of 60 hours per week. That’s after they graduate med school with a quarter million debt, and then go through residency, spending the best years of their lives working 90-hour weeks for crap wages.

    “In fact, the closest parallel I can see with medical careers is with tech. Both are high-paid knowledge work, and yet you fetishize healthcare workers while being disdainful of the incomes of tech workers. Very strange. Unless of course you happen to work in healthcare. Do you?”

    I never said tech workers shouldn’t get paid well. Do I think they make too much? Yes, probably. I’m sorry, but if you think someone saving lives should get paid the same as someone making apps, then you have a twisted value system. But we already know that.

    The other issue, of course, is that tech workers act like self-entitled douchebags. You just don’t hear many stories of douchebag nurses evicting people in the Mission, or acting like general assholes… even though they get paid a decent wage. A different sort of person goes into health care -generally one who’s interested in helping others.

  32. OK, so either we agree with you are or we are stupid? Can you understand why that is not perceived as a powerful argument? And has it occured to you that maybe that level of intransigent and inflexible thinking is why you are garnering so little public support in your campaign to continue to be granted subsidies?

  33. I’m sorry, Diane, but the very fact that you are a nurse invalidates any claim you might make to be objective in the matter of determining what is a fair compensation for your value-add.. I wouldn’t ask a turkey his opinion of Thanksgiving either.

    The issue isn’t whether your work is noble or needed so much as whether we are currently paying you more than you deserve. And that is OUR decision, not yours, because nobody gets to set their own pay.

  34. Try starting with the Administration and the Board Members for cutting pay. Full time care Nurses are the heart and soul of a hospital. They are the eyes ,ears, and the advocates for the patient. They are the people taking care of the patients working to make sure the patient has all of their needs met, tests done , medication given, concerns by you and your family addressed, communication to MD’s about all of the above. They detected a great number of declining health conditions and take the appropriate measures to make sure the patient is taken care of. They come in on their days off to cover for someone who is sick…. . They work long hours and take their work home with them thinking about the patients and families they have taken care of to make sure nothing has been missed or ideas for c.omplicated patient care is revised or improved if that is possible. SO PLEASE DON’T TELL ME THAT PAYING NURSES SIMPLY FEEDS THROUGH…. You are wrong.

  35. It’s funny that when a nurse such as myself doesn’t buy into the whole, “We’re striking for patient safety” propaganda we get called names by all the nurses who strike. I don’t understand that. Can we NOT have a difference of opinion?
    As for the name calling, I just won’t go there. It’s a desperate attempt to nullify what the other has said.had amazing staffing, and we had amazing nurses. As a matter of fact, the ONLY complaint I had working there was working with some lazy nurses who were protected by CNA.
    Lastly, I never said nurses were lazy. Almost every nurse I have ever worked with works their asses off. What I said was that CNA protects lazy nurses. It’s true. No one can successfully argue that statement. A hospital has a difficult time getting rid of the lazy nurses secondary to them being protected and pampered.
    I can tell that I am of the minority here on this forum, but I also know that most of the nurses I work with crossed the line this time. There was a poor turn out for this last strike. CNA had to collect everyone together to attempt to show there was big turnout.
    Enough said.

  36. Did you stop to think the reason may be understaffing? You SHOULD definitely file a complaint. Tell them your nurse didn’t have tome for you. The hospital knows what it is doing, they have been at this a long time, so they CAN read between the lines and you do not have the understanding of the way things work in hospital. it sounds like, unfortunately, you received sub-par care. That is the norm these days, not because nurses are lazy, but because they are understaffed! Their fellow workers may be shaking their heads because the hospital is not giving them the staffing resources they need. We are all going to be patients some day and I want my nurse to be well paid and have the time to take care of me.

  37. Talk about retirement subsidies, George Halverson who recently “retired” as CEO at Kaiser, leaves behind his $9 million/year salary but now has 9 pensions. I am disappointed though that the people posting in this forum is so filled with hatred and anonymous insults, it has lost credibility. I must move on to more productive reading. The article is very interesting explaining the wealthy Kaiser rationing care while it banks record “profits” for which it pays no taxes. It is right. Robert Pearl talks about the ongoing strikes he expects from the nurses, because Kaiser is planning take aways, it is believed. They have already eroded patient care and they want to further erode the nurses benefits and pay, but the refuse to tell the nurses even though they have been at the bargaining table for months. The nurses have been trying to set higher standards for patient care, ensure patient safety and healthy outcomes, remain educated and properly trained in the ever changing technology the work demands. They want time to go to the bathroom, and have the time to properly care patients and prevent medical errors. For anyone not to want this environment of care is just misinformed, ignorant, hateful or just STUPID. Leaving this forum.

  38. I agree with Seefromeyes, Stupid can’t be fixed. And you, Davismace, are just stupid. I hope you don’t get sick and rely on understaffed nurses, not just in Kaiser but most hospitals as this is a systemic problem. I have been an RN for 33 years and the work is so complex and ridiculously difficult more so than ever. This is also my last response to you as you are too deluded to reason with. I not read your posts either, as my time is better spent reading other posts with actual thoughts and reasoning, instead of hate mongering and misinformation that you have to offer in this forum.

  39. As always, Greg, you are so wed to your hard-line Soviet-style of socialism that you do not understand something much more important – the American sense of fair play. Now perhaps that isn’t as inbred in you as in the rest of us, who had the benefit of growing up in the great nation. But clearly you saw value in our values, because you chose to relocate here from a nation that had policies much more akin to what you advocate.

    And that sense of fair play means that, for instance, we don’t want to pay for our own pensions AND those of other groups of workers.

    Nor do we want to pay for our own healthcare and the healthcare of other classes of workers, and particularly when those are healthcare workers themselves, and therefore the cause of much of the unaffordability of healthcare in this nation.

    For instance, I just looked at the pay scales for nurses at UCSF (because they publish detailed stats) and the scale for a nurse with supervisory duties extends up to 250K a year. That’s a heck of a good income for someone who doesn’t need to a college degree.

    For doctors, of course, the sky is the limit and 200K a year is probably a minimum for many fresh out of med school.

    In fact, the closest parallel I can see with medical careers is with tech. Both are high-paid knowledge work, and yet you fetishize healthcare workers while being disdainful of the incomes of tech workers. Very strange. Unless of course you happen to work in healthcare. Do you?

    We need to get to a point where all workers bear the cost of their benefits, particularly pensions, rather than the current mishmash of subsidies. We need to start somewhere so it might as well be with a group of workers who are already very well paid – nurses.

  40. I’m astounded by some of the comments. Our resident troll aside, it seems like there’s this undercurrent of envy and hate that comes out of the woodwork whenever a new group of employees gets bashed. It’s like the ruling classes come after one group of workers after another with this divide and conquer strategy -janitors, bus drivers, public employees, nurses… the agenda is always the same -cut pay and benefits so that the ruling class gets to pocket even more of our money. And the tactics are always the same -sow discord among the working and middle classes by stoking the fires of envy. Conservatives have nothing to offer a working class person, so they offer them a dose of envy and hatred -they’re not going to do anything for you, but they’ll make the lives of your neighbors worse, so you’ll feel better about the fact that your own living standards are declining. Unbelievable that people actually eat this shit sandwich. Thing is… a diet of envy and hatred doesn’t sustain you. What will you do when the ruling classes run out of people to steal from?

  41. Hedi’s complaint wasn’t about health insurance premiums. Her post cited MediCare co-payments and general price inflation for health services.

    That is directly attributable to staff costs and, in particular, the insidious increase in the unfunded and ballooning liabilities for pension and healthcare benefits that were agreed in a different time and climate.

    The service providers have to share the cost, the pain and the burden.

  42. Is it really about paying more the nurses? Or should you ask the insurance not to charge high premiums. Because nurses are asking to keep the union contract the same that is all. That’s my head sticking out in the picket line btw.

  43. exactly my point.. do you want healthcare to be shifted in China and India?patient from europe and US HAD SENT SOME OF THEIR PATIENT FOR surgery in this countries because it’s cheaper. a nurse at kaiser earns closely with a medical doctor or your hospital based specialist.
    Nursing home RN is earning less than half of a regular staff at kaiser… sympathy from a regular person… HECK NO!! either look for another job if you are not satisfied with your current benefit or salary!

  44. Bev… i agree with Sam.. maybe you should study your economics… you are the highest paid nurse in the world and honestly not all nurses at kaiser does their job… i got hospitalized one night and you’ll hear them talk about their lavish vacation, branded bags, cars and overtime.. so if you will ask for my opinion, i got no sympathy… workers at a McDonald works harder.. hearing a nurse earning 75$/hr does not sound right!

  45. Greg,
    learned from what happen with General Motors.. the union ran the show.. few years after they went bankrupt.. history will repeat itself if union will ran the show.. CNA has not focused on other hospital except for kaiser- their biggest revenue..otherwise they had not done anything with the Sutter Nurse and Washington Hospital Nurse… it’s all about the money…

  46. Sam, you used to be a better troll than this. Here you’re making it clear you’re not even reading the article or individual responses before arguing. (Not that it would change anything, but it was much more entertaining to witness your creative (if dishonest and convoluted) twisting of the discussion to give your agenda the illusion of reason. Now, it seems like you’re not even trying.

  47. Clearly you have never worked as a nurse, or have forgotten how it is to be one, you judge nurses from afar, not really knowing what is going on basing on how you made your statements. All you say is its all about money and how the execs deserve it, but judging from your post, its you who seems to be preoccupied with money, and execs, might I add. I want you to work as a nurse, so you see how it is to be “lazy” and do “less work.”

    There is no point in stating numerous cases with you on how safety has been compromised (most of them first hand experience) because you seem to already have this unyielding prejudice against nurses, that you fail to see what is at hand and instead you decide to get up on your high horse and think that you know all.

    I sincerely hope that you stay healthy and when you need to be hospitalized, I hope you have full confidence on your safety since nurses are just “Lazy, and want less work for the same money.” Also I hope there are still nurses in the hospital should you need them for they might be either in school to be execs or already execs.

    I won’t respond to you any longer.

    Ignorance can be cured, stupidity cannot.

  48. Paid too much given their attention to patients. You try their oakland emergency room and hospital. I needed to file a complaint. Even their fellow workers just shake their heads

  49. Kaiser gave SEIU (their other largest union) everything they asked for in their last contract, including NO takeaways. Do you really think they would give them a good contract and then take anything away from the nurses?

    If you do, I’ve got some swampland in Arizona to sell you.

  50. This strike has ruined the good reputation Kaiser Nusres have had. They went on strike for one thing, MONEY! No, you don’t “want a raise” you want LESS WORK for the same money! Which is quite good I might add. You complain about the executives making so much more than you, well might I suggest going back to school and getting their job. You state the nurses worked hard to get the pay they have. You don’t think the executives have worked hard as well to get where they are?

    This “patient safety” propaganda is a facade. You know it, I know it , and believe it or not the patients know it. Unions, and especially CNA, always want more for less. They are a safety net for lazy nurses to ensure they can’t lose their jobs! Good luck getting less work for the same pay though. I hope “patient safety” isn’t sacrificed when the RN’s take to the picket line.

  51. Kaiser Employee:You are so ignorant and naieve to think the way you do, educate yourself about the truth and your brain and eyes will be wide opened! And, you’ll have pity for your status.

  52. If cuts are proposed to your package then that will leads to less costs. It’s disinflatioary.

    You are right that I haven’t read all the details, but it is fairly common these days to require workers to pay for more of their pension and heathcare costs, as they are ballooning and are unsustainable.

    It is unreasonable for you to expect immunity from reality.

  53. Sam, did you even read this!?!? They are not asking for for more pay, just that what they already get doesn’t get taken away. The only”more” they want is enough nurses to actually care for patients appropriately. How selfish and horrible of them! Get Real! Kaiser needs to not be so greedy.

  54. Thank you so much Tim for writing this! We nurses really appreciate you writing the truth. It’s so sad how the media has twisted the real issues. This strike has only UNITED the nurses more!!! Patient care is #1. We

  55. Yes, I feel a lot more sympathy for ordinary people who cannot afford healthcare which is too expensive because of high pay.

    Paying nurses more simply feeds through into even higher healthcare costs, and is self-defeating.

    The vicious cycle of inflation has to be addressed, and this seems as good a place to start as any.

  56. Kaiser employee…
    We are not asking for raises! We are asking for safe patient care and to keep our benefits and retirement.

  57. We have “among the highest paid” many things in the world in Northern California, from cops to software engineers to bus drivers. Much of it has to do with the fact that we have among the highest cost of living in the world.

    But I’m really not understanding the position here. Do you truly believe that if nurses make less, then Kaiser will pay other employees like yourself more? If so, you’re very naïve about how the corporate world works. More likely the case, lifting the wages of one types of employee tends to exert and upward pressure on the wages of other employees in general.

    Or is this just a case of the slave mentality -a combination of envy and learned helplessness -where you’ve been beaten down so much by the masters that you no longer care whether things get better for you, as long as they get worse for your neighbor?

    The real problem, Kaiser employee, is not that some hard working professionals actually get their due. The real problem is that American executives are THE highest compensated in the world, by far. Don’t envy the nurses. They worked hard to get where they are, they work hard at their jobs, they perform a needed service, and they organized and fought for their pay and benefits. They’re fighting the forces responsible for your lot too. Their fight is our fight.

  58. Imagine if Kaiser will give ways to the union, being one of the highest paid nurses in the world, earning an average of 72$/hr… What will happen to the other employees and future of health care? Union always wants to be part of that revenue but I think it is not fair… Highest paid Nurses in the world is in Northern California, what more do they want? How about sharing it with other employees

  59. Thank you for telling it like it is. I’m a 25 year Kaiser RN. Their side, and their letters sent home to us, are very discouraging. They say they are disappointed and perplexed as to why we are striking. Robert Pearl’s statements were unbelievable. He said we would have a strike, long before we even got to the bargaining table. I really appreciate the article.

  60. Finally someone telling it like it is. As a 39 year employee of Kaiser, I am tired of the lack of respect the nurses are experiencing during our contract negotiations. 7 minutes here, 11 minutes this time, no we won’t negotiate today – bargaining in good faith – that is a NO! As nurses leaving our patients in the hands of traveling nurses was not what we wanted but what KAISER forced us to do. We were willing to settle our contract with improved EBOLA language and no take-aways and Kaiser said NO! Which only means that this money grubbing corporation wants to take away from it’s nurses – but they don’t even have the “courage” to tell us what that is. They have not bargained in good faith and if it takes another strike then so be it – that responsibility rests solely in the hands of Kaiser Senior Management. Take it from here Mr. Pearl – the ball is still in your court.

  61. Absolutely Kaiser is loathing in money billions and Dr. Robbie Pearl has made it clear he is in for the fight……

  62. On the consumer side, those of us on individual Medicare plans have seen exponential rise in co-payments for many services such as laboratory work, MRI’s, X-Rays, etc.. Other than regular doctor visits all services including hospitalization have gone up exponentially. How can we get some publicity about this?

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