Mental health clinicians and other medical employees of Pasadena-based Kaiser Permanente in California have rejected the company’s latest contract offer, their union said July 11.
Some 4,000 Kaiser employees represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) voted on the proposal with 88 percent choosing to reject.
According to the union, the voting took place at more than 100 Kaiser locations in California over the past three weeks.
“We’re asking for Kaiser to provide the same quality care for patients seeking mental health treatment as it does for patients seeking medical care,” NUHW President Sal Rosetti said in a statement announcing the vote. “That should not be difficult to accomplish for a [Health Maintenance Organization] that reported $3.2 billion net profit in the first three months of this year.”
NUHW has called upon Kaiser to return to the negotiating table, “immediately.”
For months, the union has characterized the extended and contentious contract negotiations as being over the insufficient level of staffing in mental health departments at Kaiser’s California facilities. They conducted a one-day strike in East Pasadena over the issue.
Kaiser has always rejected the union’s narrative, countering that NUHW is after wages and benefits and using its expressed concern for the HMO’s mental health patients as a smokescreen for that underlying reality.
The union’s demands at the negotiating table, the healthcare provider said, would actually work to the detriment of the mental health patients.
Perhaps anticipating the contract’s defeat, Kaiser released a statement ahead of the union’s announcement to that effect.
While expressing disappointment at the union leadership’s recommendation that the rank-and-file reject the proposal, Kaiser said it was “moving forward with unprecedented investments to further advance our mental health care.”
The company bemoaned misinformation circulating regarding its proposal and said it wanted to “set the record straight.”
That entailed a discussion of extensive plans for staffing, space and workforce development in the mental health arena.
To that end, Kaiser said it has hired in excess of 500 new mental health therapists in recent years. The company said it has expanded its collaborations with “high quality community providers” to ensure sufficient levels of care.
Additionally, the company said it has initiated a wave of expansions and upgrades to its mental health treatment locations at a cost of $700 million.
“Without a ratified contract, however,” the company said, “we cannot move forward with the many provisions in our contract proposal which would address the personal and professional interest of our employees and relieve many of their immediate concerns and daily challenges.”
Pasadena-based Tetra Tech will be acquiring all of the outstanding shares of WYG Group plc, an award-winning geo-environmental services firm operating from more than 30 locations across the UK, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Tetra Tech said the acquisition has become effective through a UK court-approved scheme of arrangement and the transaction has closed. Trading in WYG shares on the London Stock Exchange has also been suspended and the outstanding shares of WYG are now owned by Tetra Tech, a Tetra Tech statement said.
“The addition of WYG advances our strategy to be the premier global high-end consulting, engineering, and program management firm,” Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO, said. “WYG’s expertise in infrastructure and program management, as well as water and environmental services, enables us to deliver innovative solutions to support the UK’s infrastructure needs. Together, we will provide an expanded scope of services to our customers and offer our combined staff even greater professional opportunities.”
WYG has over 1,600 employees primarily in the UK and Europe, delivering consulting and engineering solutions for complex projects across key service areas, including planning, water and environment, transport, infrastructure, the built environment, architecture, urban design, surveying, asset management, program management, and international development.
With the acquisition, WYG expands Tetra Tech’s geographic presence and positions the company as a leading global consulting, engineering and program management firm focused on water, environment and infrastructure.
In addition, WYG enhances Tetra Tech’s international development business both for the European Union and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. Collectively, its expanded presence in the UK provides a strong platform for growth in the UK and Europe.
As a leading provider of high-end consulting and engineering services for projects worldwide, Tetra Tech has 20,000 associates working together, providing clear solutions to complex problems in water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, energy, and international development.For more information, visit www.tetratech.com.
Athletes to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games will find themselves being shuttled around in driverless vehicles provided by Pasadena-based COAST Autonomous.
The local, self-driving vehicle manufacturer will provide vehicles to move athletes around New Clark City, Philippines, during the November/December competition. The 2019 SEA Games target more than 500 million viewers throughout Asia and worldwide.
COAST Autonomous said in a July 9 statement that the Philippine Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) had made the selection.
The task at hand is moving some 8,700 athletes, from 11 countries, to 50 sporting events spread over a large complex.
The company said a fleet of electric COAST P-1 self-driving shuttles will “showcase the future of urban transportation” by running a service between the athletes’ village, an aquatic center, and the stadium inside New Clark City.
New Clark City is the former Clark Air Base, home of the United States 13th Air Force until 1991.
Each COAST Autonomous P-1 shuttle can carry up to 20 passengers and operate safely in pedestrian areas, in mixed traffic, or on a dedicated lane.
Designed as a first- and last-mile mobility solution, the shuttle works ideally as a connector between venues or to existing public transportation. Fleets of P-1 shuttles operating on a dedicated lane can travel further at higher speeds to provide a flexible, low-cost alternative to light rail systems, the company said.
“The SEA Games is the perfect event and New Clark City the ideal location to showcase the future of urban transportation,” said David Hickey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of COAST Autonomous. “The Philippines once had a robust electric streetcar system that carried 35 million passengers and was the envy of Asia. Shared, electric self-driving shuttles are the natural successors to the streetcar and can form the backbone of a new, clean and more efficient streetcar system.”
This 30th SEA Games will have events in multiple venues around the Philippines and will be the first major international sporting event to offer an autonomous vehicle service to its athletes.
To learn more about the company’s AV technology, visit www.coastautonomous.com.