Kaiser Permanente, union, reach agreement to keep landscaping jobs

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Kaiser Permanente will retain 63 landscaping jobs that were scheduled to be eliminated on June 7, according to Kaiser and the Service Employees International Union–United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), the union representing the workers.

Kaiser, which already uses an outside landscaping firm at a half-dozen of its Northern California medical centers, had planned to outsource all of its gardening jobs, the Business Journal reported on March 12.

The layoffs would have included 16 positions at Kaiser medical centers in Northern California. Of those jobs, 13 would have been eliminated in the North Bay: two positions in San Rafael, three in Santa Rosa, two in Vacaville and six jobs in Vallejo, according to the Business Journal’s earlier reporting.

The agreement to save the 63 jobs came hours before a scheduled protest outside Kaiser’s Oakland headquarters, according to the union.

John Nelson, vice president of communications, Kaiser Permanente, confirmed the settlement in a May 8 statement.

“We are pleased with this outcome and will continue to modernize landscaping services while offering great jobs to our gardeners,” Nelson said. “Working in partnership with SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) leadership, we were able to reach the best outcome for all parties.”

Kaiser gardener Phil Osmond expressed relief in the union’s May 7 announcement.

“Now we can continue to do the jobs we love without worrying about our futures,” said Osmond, who has worked for 23 years at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center.

SEIU-UHW states it represents more than 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California. Nelson said in March that Kaiser has added more than 8,000 employees represented by the union since 2015.

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