Kaiser Permanente lays off 200 Colorado employees
Kaiser Permanente is laying off another roughly 200 employees in Colorado, just three months after the organization announced it would lay off 200 employees in the state as it struggles to regain its financial footing.
The Oakland, Calif.-based integrated health system—which runs Colorado's largest not-for-profit health plan—says it's making a series of operational improvements to stay competitive in an increasingly challenging market.
"An important part of this effort is having the right people in the right jobs to best serve our members," according to a Kaiser Permanente Colorado statement. "We are reorganizing some departments and eliminating some staff positions. These decisions were made thoughtfully and carefully to target specific areas of redundancy or overcapacity that will have the least impact on our members."
Kaiser spokesman Marc Brown wrote in an email that the employees being laid off work mostly in pharmacy, human resources and administration, as well as some in care delivery. The 200 employees laid off in November 2018 were all in administrative positions.
"We value all of our employees and their service to our organization and we never take decisions like this lightly," Kaiser's statement continued. "We are committed to meeting our obligations to all affected employees, including help finding other employment, as well as severance payments and other benefits."
SEIU 105 has about 3,500 members in Colorado employed by Kaiser. So far, the union has not been notified that any of its members are affected by the current round of layoffs, said spokesman Ron Ruggiero. Since the middle of last year, however, about 300 of its Colorado members were redeployed to other positions within Kaiser. A term of SEIU 105's contract with Kaiser stipulates that employees who are reassigned to lower-paid positions must receive their previous salary for at least one year, Ruggiero said.
"In terms of redeployments, we want to make sure members' rights are being respected and contracts are being followed," he said.
SEIU 105's contract with Kaiser expires Sept. 30, and Ruggiero said ideally the parties would have already begun bargaining for the next one, but Kaiser has not yet agreed to meet.
"That's introduced more tension into the relationship," he said.
SEIU 105 is part of a coalition that's involved in a broader dispute with Kaiser that will get a National Labor Relations Board hearing in March.
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