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Contract Talks for 1,800 Security Officers at Kaiser Permanente Break Down - Major Cuts to Worker Healthcare are at Issue
Date:7/1/2009

SAN FRANCISCO, July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At a bargaining session yesterday with SEIU Property Services Division, the union representing 1,800 security officers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in California and the rest of the nation, talks with Kaiser's security contractor Securitas ended when the contractor refused to restore the affordable healthcare coverage officers had had at the start of the year. Bargaining broke down Tuesday evening as Securitas rejected efforts to negotiate improvements to the officers' health insurance coverage, and offered a meager 10 cent per hour pay raise.

Healthcare benefits were slashed in February when Securitas was awarded Kaiser's security contract, making routine doctor's visits, preventative care, medications, and other basic health services unaffordable for many officers and their families.

"Kaiser Permanente wants to be seen as a leader in the movement for national health care reform, yet they sit quietly by while their contractor cuts healthcare for the security officers who protect their facilities," said Tom Balanoff, SEIU International Vice President. "It is disappointing that our talks broke down over the most basic aspects of providing good, safe jobs and fair benefits to valuable employees of the nation's largest non-profit health system."

No new bargaining dates have been set, and a labor peace agreement between SEIU and Securitas is set to expire on July 15. Over the past few months, as officers have been speaking out against the healthcare cuts, the company has been conducting illegal surveillance of them. Thus, the security officers vowed to vote soon on whether or not to authorize their bargaining committee to call an unfair labor practice strike, and pledged to continue ongoing pickets outside of Kaiser hospitals.

"It's a slap in the face that they didn't give us any movement on our healthcare, and offered just a 10-cent rai
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SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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