first_imgKaiser Permanente is entangled in a legal battle against some of its employees that could reach trial in March.Even though Kaiser settled contract negotiations with some labor unions in November, disagreement continues between Kaiser and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which consists of 11 labor unions in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.About 20 unions that used to be part of the coalition split from it last spring, and finalized their contract with Kaiser.The coalition filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in May, saying that Kaiser repeatedly canceled contract negotiations with the coalition. The coalition’s national agreement expired with Kaiser on Sept. 30 — Kaiser has negotiated contracts with the coalition since 1997. A legal hearing with the NLRB has been scheduled to begin on March 19 in Oakland, Calif.While contract negotiations have stalled, there has been no work stoppage.Meg Niemi, the president of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West Local 49, said she’s hopeful Kaiser will return to the negotiating table before the trial; she said she believes Kaiser has broken the law, and that the NLRB will agree with her.SEIU Local 49 represents 500 Kaiser health care workers in Southwest Washington, which includes licensed practical nurses, registration representatives, medical assistants, physical therapy aides, dental aides among other job classifications.Kaiser, in a press release last month, said it has “been doing everything possible to be constructive and make progress,” referencing the other unions it has settled with.last_img

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