Kaiser Permanente to eliminate all Northern California landscaping staff

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Kaiser Permanente plans to cut approximately 60 full-time gardening positions at 16 Kaiser facilities across Northern California this spring, according to a trade union.

Beginning in mid-May, the layoffs would include 13 positions at Kaiser medical centers in the North Bay, according to SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which in a March 11 press release said it was informed of the action. The group said local cuts would be as follows: San Rafael (two jobs), Santa Rosa (three jobs), Vacaville (two jobs) and Vallejo (six jobs).

“Under the plan, the gardeners would lose their jobs as soon as May 11 and an outside company would oversee an entirely new workforce that is paid less and receives fewer benefits than current Kaiser employees," the union said in the announcement. "Nearly 100 federal, state and local elected officials in California have sent letters to Kaiser opposing the corporation’s outsourcing plans.”

Kaiser in a March 11 statement said it currently uses an outside landscaping firm at a half-dozen of its Northern California medical centers.

“The recent decision was made to expand the use of this outside service to the remainder of our campuses,” John Nelson, vice president of communications, Kaiser Permanente, said in the statement. “As a result of a change in business practice with the new landscaping service, we will be working with our affected internal landscaping staff to support training and transition to other jobs within Kaiser Permanente per our existing redeployment agreement with SEIU-UHW.”

In cases where it isn’t feasible to reassign affected workers, Kaiser will “provide them up to one year of salary and benefits,” Nelson said.

SEIU-UHW’s press release included an attachment of a March 8 notification letter from Kaiser Permanente’s labor division, to the regional director of the union’s Kaiser division. The letter also included a request between the two entities for meetings this week to discuss the transition of Kaiser’s impacted employees and plans to notify them later this month.

Nelson said Kaiser has added more than 8,000 employees represented by the union since 2015. SEIU-UHW reports it represents 95,000 members in the western United States.

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