Kaiser Permanente workers oppose proposal to outsource 60 gardeners

Healthcare workers in Northern California are speaking out against Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente's proposal to outsource landscaping.

The workers, represented by the Service Employees International Union–United Healthcare Workers West, said that Kaiser Permanente plans to outsource the jobs of about 60 gardeners in Antioch; Fremont; Manteca; Modesto; Oakland; Richmond; San Francisco; San Jose; San Leandro; San Rafael; Santa Clara; Santa Rosa; Stockton; Vacaville; Vallejo; and Walnut Creek.

In a Sept. 17 letter to the union, Kaiser Permanente said it "is considering transitioning our in-house landscaping operations to an external vendor that provides a comprehensive program for campus landscaping maintenance and management."

The healthcare giant estimated the change would potentially affect about 60 employees.   

"This announcement is just the latest example of how much Kaiser Permanente has drifted from its slogan of helping the community 'thrive,' because when it comes down to it, profits are the only thing that seem to matter to them," said Asa Bowman, a gardener at Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek. "If Kaiser truly cared about doing right by the community, it would protect good-paying jobs with benefits — especially since Kaiser's profits are skyrocketing."

John Nelson, vice president of communications at Kaiser Permanente, told Becker's at this time no current Kaiser Permanente gardener jobs are affected.  

He said Kaiser Permanente uses an outside landscaping firm at six of its Northern California medical centers and is considering having an outside vendor manage its remaining Northern California campuses.

"We have notified the union and asked to meet to discuss the potential decision. We are committed to working with our employees and the union in accordance with the terms of our collective bargaining agreement," said Mr. Nelson.


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